Prepping A Year Ahead!

I know we are all in our final countdown to summer.  If you are like me, you may or may not have a countdown on your white board.  The daily satisfaction of changing the number to one day closer to freedom helps get through these final weeks of school!  While we all need our break, I have a few tips to make next school year start of with a bang.  Get all of your prep work for the basic classroom tools done this year so that you can focus on student files, IEP's and curriculum in August!

1.  Organize all cupboards
I know at the end of the year our energy levels are low.  One of the last things we, a teachers, want to do is organize our cupboards.  But I promise you, when August rolls around you will be thanking me that you took the time to do this tedious task in June!  This is such a time consuming task and often times will just be skipped year after year since other things such as curriculum, data and IEP's are higher on your priority list.  Check out how Gabrielle at Teaching Special Thinkers organizes her goodies!
2.  Update/replenish/trash files
Take the time to go through each file.  Clean out old student files.  Go through files and replenish copies where needed.  I like to keep lots of copies of IEP forms, data sheets, nurse slips etc that I can pull out at a moments notice when needed.  Make the copies now!  I also like to take this time to go through files and throw out duplicates.  Sometimes files get sloppy and unorganized- take the time to do this now so that next year you don't waste time looking for lost forms and curriculum!  Want to see an insanely amazing system of organization?  Check out Erin from You Aut-A Know's file system!
3.  Disinfect EVERYTHING
I have this absurd theory that if a toy or visual doesn't get disinfected before summer, the germs multiply and will be taking over my classroom in the hot summer.  DISINFECT EVERYTHING!  Disinfect books, toys, sensory fidgets, equipment, furniture, communication boos, picture icons, schedule icons etc.  Disinfect file folder activities and TEACCH task box items as well.  

4.  Prep new schedule icons
I don't know about your students, but my students are not the "gentlest" of students.  My schedule icons and communication icons get destroyed with the daily handling of them.  Take an inventory of your pieces and print and prep new ones.  Restock these items now so that you are not up late the night before the first day of school cutting out schedule icons.  Schedule icons are an absolute must in a special education program, so make sure this is ready to go!
5.  Prep new folders
If you are like me and organize centers with student work folders, prep these now!  It can be a tedious task to cut, clue, laminate and cut again.  I just make a bunch.  I know you don't always have your class list in June, but you know your max class size.  For my district, the max students is 13.  Knowing this, I just prep 13 of everything!

6.  Prep new behavior visuals (working cards and token economy)
Behavior visuals are a MUST.  But- they are usually wrinkled, torn, pieced together with tape by the end of the year.  I like to replenish my stock of visuals at the end of the year so that they are pretty and ready to go for the first day of school!

7.  Take inventory of all toys and take new pictures  
Do you have a token economy system in your classroom?  If you do, sometimes icons get lost.  Icons get faded or ripped apart.  At the end of the school year I take inventory of all of the toys and rewards I have in my classroom and take new pictures.  I laminate and attach with velcro in the token economy folder.  This is a never ending task- but at least you are caught put to date with this before school starts!

8.  Make copies of homework for the ENTIRE year
I love my homework system I have developed for my kiddos.  One sheet a week (added to individual homework packets) is super easy to run off copies for the whole year.  Like my work center folders, I just make enough copies for the max class size.  I store each month in its old file folder.  On Mondays I can just pull out the next set and prep homework easy.  I hate having to run to the copy machine for one thing- so by prepping copies now you are saving SO much time!  I also do this with my monthly scrapbook pages.  I run the entire thing off now so that each month we can complete each page with ease!

I promise that you will be thankful to have finished these 8 tasks before summer.  Interested in re-vamping your classroom program?  Check out my SPED PROGRAM STARTER KIT to get access to checklists and to do lists to help you from beginning to end!
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Once you finish prepping these items, put your feet up, get a tan and make a drink!  I hope you enjoyed these tips for 

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