My 2014 Summer Checklist

I love lists. I think most teachers do. I tend to scribble them onto everything. My husband likes lists too, but he is more digital. I tend to need to actually write it. It just doesn't stick with me if it is in my phone.

But for this particular list, it's so long and ongoing, that I tend to keep it on a digital post-it on my desktop.

I share it with you here so that you can see what kind of things I'm thinking of over the summer. Let's see what ACTUALLY gets done. I tend to want to do more things than I can actually do!

Buy another Red Rollie Chair- I bought a red chair from IKEA last fall and I LOVE it. I find myself dragging it from my group meeting table to the front of my room. I need another. Let's see if I a. make it to IKEA, b. convince Mr. B to let me buy one. 
Spray Paint File Cabinets, rocking chair and mailboxes- All these are different colors. I would like to spray paint them all black so that everything is streamlined. 
Add Bulletin Board Above Cubbies- I have a large blank wall that I would love to add a BB to. I have put this on my Need/Want/Dream list and hopefully it will happen this summer!
Deep Clean/Organization of Library- This is going to take forever. I have over 1000 books. I started with over 800 last year and inherited at least 100 from the previous teacher. I've probably acquired at least 50 through Scholastic and my addiction to buying books. I'm estimating 1000, but they desperately need to be sorted.
Add Shelving to Cabinets
Trade Blue Table for Red- I have two red tables and 1 blue. It's making me nuts. I have my eye on a matching one in the kindergarten room. 
Lower Tables- my poor babies kept sitting on their feet all year. 
Make Chair Pockets with polka dot ribbon edging-  this probably won't happen but a girl can dream!
Add Poly Pellets to Bean Bags- Where do they all go?
Get another Polka Dot Rug- Another IKEA find. I want a matching on for my gathering spot. 
Tall Bucket for Big Books- I'm keeping my eyes peeled at Target!
Low Shelves Across Back of the Room for Library Books- The main goal of my classroom at all times is corralling the books. Our librarian got these gorgeous shelves built. I'm hoping to get them to make me some too!
Print Pretty Labels for Banker Boxes- just because.
Secure Book Labels to Baskets- the tape method this year just didn't work out. They were falling off all the time! Time for an overhaul.
Math Journals & Reading Journals- want to overhaul how I do these for next year. 
Magnets on Door Frame to Hold Bunting- One of those things you smack your head and say, Why didn't I think of that on my own?
Small Lamps for Classroom- Add a homey touch
Teacher Toolbox- Pinterest Envy. I think it will really help my teacher area feel tidy since I don't have  a desk. 
Birthday Pixie Sticks-  I'm terrible about being prepared for birthdays. I hope to prevent that this year!
Readjust Computer Station- This is already done! I recently got a projector installed, but they left the cables unsecured and hanging. A quick trip to Target fixed this one!
Bring At-Home Computers to School- I have had an old computer in storage this entire school year. I found it and want it out of my home office and in my classroom where it can be of use!
Create Listening/Computer Station- My technology was really lacking last year. I plan to really jumpstart it for next year!
Our Class Data Bulletin Board- I'll be doing a blog post on this later.
Line Clear Sterilite Drawers with Patterned Paper- gotta hide all my crap!

Am I the only one with a to-do list this long? What's the number one thing on your to do list? 

Clean Up- Clean Out!

I know this may be weird, but I LOVE the end of the year. I love cleaning out and organizing my classroom and dreaming/planning about NEXT year. Classroom organization and design are some of my favorite parts of being a teacher!

At my school, we don't have to COMPLETELY move out, or put everything away, but it is to our benefit to do a lot of de-cluttering and storage. Our school runs a fabulous summer camp during over vacation, and we share our space with the church weekly. Since we are not the ones using our rooms and may not visit them for weeks, it's better to be safe than sorry!

We have a week between the end of school and the beginning of camp. For this week I am taking advantage of the opportunity for my classroom to be WRECK. I pull EVERYTHING out of my cabinets and purge purge purge!

Here are some of my tips for getting organized before you head off to sunny beaches or your neighborhood pool!

1. Enlist the troops

Before school ends, I try to dedicate at least an afternoon to getting the kids to help with the time consuming jobs- sorting manipulatives, testing markers/glue sticks etc. However, I hope your declutter session doesn't end up like mine. The day I decided to do this started off well-enough, but then not one but TWO of my students got sick to their stomach. I had both of them over trash cans. My other kids did a great job letting me help out my invalids, but it was hard to keep them focused on the task at hand!

Moving on, I not only got my items sorted, but discovered that there were some manipulatives that I needed mixed in with my pattern blocks that I didn't even know I had! 1-inch square pieces were on my list of items I needed to ask for, and behold, I don't need them now!

2. Pull EVERYTHING out of your cabinets, drawers, etc.

When you pull everything out and take inventory, it's nice to see it all. For example, I realized I had two sets of base-10 blocks, over 50 mini clocks, and at least a million dollars worth of paper money. Who needs all that?? I was able to free up some serious real estate in the already crowded cabinets!

I also put all of my empty bins, baskets and tubs in one spot. This way I can see what is available, discard any broken items and have what I need at my finger tips.

I also drag the biggest trashcan I can find into my room. I tend to throw away A LOT. If this is a struggle for you, enlist a friend. You know who can help you with this.

3. Put all Your Papers in One Spot & Make a List

You know that long checklist of things you are supposed to do? Have you ever lost it in your quest to get better organized? I know I have!
Now I try to create a central location for the things I know I need to have handy. I like to use a pretty paper tray, or even clip it to a bright clipboard. The polka dot one I made 3 years ago is my favorite. I only have one so that my kids can help me find it when I'm losing my marbles!

As I am decluttering and cleaning, I am also making next year's to do list. I hope to share that with you in the next post. I also try to keep a spiral notebook with a few more ongoing lists. My principal likes to have a Need/Want/Dream list. Anytime I think of something while I'm cleaning, I have it available. I also have to turn in a work order list. I keep this in the notebook too.

4. Tunes & Caffeine

I plug in my favorite Pandora station to my computer speakers and always make sure to treat myself to a little Starbucks during teacher work week. I like to wallow in the fun stuff without having responsibility for the kids. Having these little luxuries helps me to stay focused and be efficient.

5. Take home your favorites

My husband always insists on me packing up my classroom library and storing it at home. We have a lot of money tied up in those books! It's a lot of work, but we take the whole lot home. It's over 1000 books!

I also take home a lot of my personal items. You never know when someone thinks they can help themselves, or if there is a water leak. I'm lucky that Mr. B comes and helps with the heavy lifting!

What is your process for the end of the year? Were any of these tips helpful for you?

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