May 31, 2022
The words educators and students alike look forward to for some much needed rest and catching up.
Some educators spend their summer rotating between rest and preparing for the upcoming school year while some educators enjoy summer and save those tasks for when school starts, or a week or two before. Whichever camp you fall into, I’ve got you covered.
Over the next few weeks, I will break down my routine for prepping for the new school year into phases and activities to do. I did this every year while I was in a brick and mortar school and it got faster each time. It helped me see what I have and reduced my inventory to smaller amounts, which made moves, prep and teaching go a lot smoother.
You can decide whether you do one task a week over the summer in small sessions, or you do one task a day when you return. Be sure to bookmark this page for when you return to it this year, or in future years, or to share with fellow educators.
So let’s tackle Phase 1 by starting with what we have. I’ve even made a *** printable checklist and shopping list *** to help you! And, since we educators love our acronyms to remember things, I’ve made one for this, too.
Phase 1: Classroom Supplies and Resources – let’s clean up the SPILLS
SORT Take every item you have in your cabinets, drawers and shelves out and sort it by category. Do the same with your digital inventory, or complete that in the next step
PURGE Go through each category and ask yourself: Does it still work/is it in good repair? Have I used this in the last 3 years? Will I use it next year? If the answer to ANY of these is no, either pass it on or recycle/trash it. If the answer is yes, set it aside and keep it in that category. Be sure to do this with everything from craft supplies to books to teaching resources. Leave nothing untouched!
This is also the time to go through all your digital files and group into folders as well as purge–if you are like me, every year is slightly adapted, so you may have several versions of the same thing–keep the most current or create a template for adapting and ditch them all.
INVENTORY (I like to combine this step with the next one and do them at the same time for efficiency and forgetfulness.) Now that you have cleared things out, you should see a reduction in what you have. Now take inventory of what is there and do a quick check–any redundancies or things that can do double duty to further reduce your inventory?
LIST Either make a separate list for each category OR use one sheet and just have it sorted by category. As you inventory each, if you find any gaps or items that need replaced or added, be sure they have been added to your list under the category needed, this will make your shopping step much easier. Don’t forget to think about how you will store things in the last step so you can gather boxes or baskets that you can repurpose from old packaging, gather from your home or sales, or purchase at the store. I have found these plastic shoe boxes and 3 tiered drawer organizer or file racks to be my favorite methods, especially the 3 tiered drawers for turn in bins so everything is already sorted for grading. They are versatile and symmetric in size, making it easier to fit more together when needed.
LABEL With everything already sorted into categories, go ahead and create labels for them. You can simply hand write them, use a label maker, or get crafty and create them! This may sound a little OCD for your methods, but having a label for what you have either for the box, drawer or cabinet, will make it easier on you for prep, or on the students or substitute if you allow them access to supplies. We will store them in the next step, so don’t worry about containers. And if you need supplies for this step, add it to your list-just call it your LABEL category and add what you need for it.
SHOP & STORE IT Get those items on hand organized, labeled and stored away for now. After we complete the next two phases, we will be ready to shop. for now, place supply requests or work orders with your school, if they do that for you so it can be on it’s way. If you shop the dollar bins or back to school sales over the summer, just keep that list in your go bag and check it when you are at the store. As you acquire your items, add them to your storage or, if you store in your classroom, create a holding spot someplace so you’ll remember to take them with you.
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