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6 Things You Must Do Now to Get Ready for Next Year!

I’m a planner. Although, I don’t think that’s unique to me – I think most teachers are planners! As the year draws to a close, I like to look ahead towards next year {Sorry, kiddos – I think you’re looking ahead towards summer, too!}

As I get a few spare minutes here and there, I start to prep those things that I know I will need next year in the classroom.

Here’s a peek at a few, simple things that you SHOULD do this year…to make the start of next year a little easier! Stay tuned till the end and you can grab ALL of the freebies!

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Things You Must Do Now to Get Ready for Next Year Lucky to Be in First 1

For years, I bought a planner at the teacher store.  I was always crossing things out, adding stickers, coloring coding, shoving birthday sheets and post-its in the back!  Then it dawned on me – why am I not just making my own plan book?! I can customize it myself and add the pages that I want to! DUH!

I print out a cover, enough pages for the {endless!} weeks in school, and throw in a few pages at the back to long-range plan and scribble some notes.  Then, I bring it to the FedEx store and get it bound all nice and pretty for $4! {If you mention that you’re a teacher, they may even knock off a buck or two!}

Lucky to Be in First Plan Book Freebie

So, I’m sharing my editable Plan Book template with you! Get crazy. Add clipart, your favorite fonts, prep blocks, etc! Now I know this format won’t work for everyone, but it’s the one I use {sorry to all those vertical planners out there!} More detailed instructions are included in the file itself!

Plan Book Lucky to Be in First

Please note: this file will be delivered in Google Drive. However, in order to edit the name/date you will need to download the file onto your computer and open in PowerPoint to edit. It will NOT be editable in Google Drive! 

Things You Must Do Now to Get Ready for Next Year Lucky to Be in First 2

Inevitably, there are forms that we send home to parents! Why not get those papers all set to go now!?

One paper I always send home on the First Day is the “Getting Acquainted” form. This quick questionnaire allows parents to share important information and their thoughts about their child. I like to hold onto these papers and revisit them a few times throughout the year so I can look back at what they’ve said!

Another goody always tucked into that first-day folder is this “In the Car Activities.” Kids {sadly!} spend so much time in the car shuttling between soccer practice, the grocery store, and Grandma’s house! Keep ’em thinking with this list of activities! I laminate mine for durability.

I always create a Take Home Folder for my kiddos to bring their homework, permission slips, and other important papers to-and-from school in. I buy the fancy-schmancy poly folders at Office Depot at the beginning of the school year. Yes, they’re a little more expensive than the 2 cent folders offered at BTS time, but these last ALL year. Honestly, they could probably be used from year to year, but the overwhelming smell of their breakfast’s leftover syrup is too much for me so I splurge every year!

Take Home Folders Lucky to Be in First
Work in Progress Lucky to Be in First

I print “Take Home Folder” onto Avery 8163 Shipping Labels and slap onto the folders! Surprisingly, you may need to explain to your parents at Back to School Night the purpose of the Home/School label!  

Another folder I get ready is the Work in Progress.  Basically, everything that we’re working on is shoved into this folder, so it’s not floating around their desks! I use Avery 8163 Shipping Labels for the big sticker on the front and Avery 5160 Mailing Labels for the Finished/Not-Finished for the inside.

Back to School Labels Lucky to Be in First

And two more quick folders – Daily 5 & Writer’s Workshop {I’ve also included “My Center Work” labels in case you’re not a D5er!}

Want more labels to get organized? Check out Label It!

I’ve included labels for every subject imaginable!

Things You Must Do Now to Get Ready for Next Year Lucky to Be in First 3

For all the years I’ve taught, I’ve always sent home a note or postcard to get my new students excited {and get the jitters out!} before the first day. Many parents have said how much that note meant to their child.

A few years ago I saw an adorable letter that Nicole from Rowdy in Room 300 created to send home just before the start of the school year.  Super simple and adorable! I printed them onto fun Astrobrights Paper and they’re all sealed and ready go!

Back to School Letter Lucky to Be in First

As soon as I get my class list and addresses in August, it’s easy to slap on a label and pop into the mail! Don’t worry…I fixed the typo on the final paragraph ๐Ÿ™‚

Things You Must Do Now to Get Ready for Next Year Lucky to Be in First 4

The good thing about first grade is that homework is not crazy challenging each week! It’s pretty much the same week in and week out! For years, I’ve used 1st Grade Homework & Spelling. Kids know what to expect each week and it’s fun to see them build on their learning each week!

I use a basket with hanging files to organize the 35 weeks of homework! Each month has a file and the homework for that month is hanging inside ready to go! Nothin’ fancy but it works!

Organzing First Grade Homework Lucky to Be in First

I’ve also spent a little time getting our Take Home Tasks ready to go again for next year! Again, the more prep I do now, the easier it’ll be on me in August! You can read more about Take Home Tasks HERE!

Take Home Task Preview 2

Back to School is a great time to snag these cheap supply boxes to store your Take Home Tasks in!

Things You Must Do Now to Get Ready for Next Year Lucky to Be in First 5

Raise your hand if you are a school supply hoarder? I am!

I didn’t quite realize how much I have around until I took a quick inventory – eeeeek! Use this School Supply Inventory to make note of the supplies you have before you go wild during the summer sales! 

In my defense, I load up on school supplies during the summer {when it’s cheaper!} so I always have enough to prep for the following year!

Things You Must Do Now to Get Ready for Next Year Lucky to Be in First 6
Sharpen Your Pencils Lucky to Be in First

I think one of the worst jobs about being a teacher is sharpening pencils {especially AFTER kids have touched them! Hello, germs!} The Spring is a perfect time to sharpen up your Ticonderogas!

I buy the Laddies because while they are a little more pricey than the standard pencil, they are a little fatter for those little hands to grab!

Grab ALL the Back to School Freebies by signing up below!


30 Responses

  1. Thank you, Molly! This time of year is CRAZY, but I’ll be able to leave clerical work for some of our teacher aides when we go on field trips in the last couple weeks of school! I really appreciate your neat and tidy pages, and the fact that they’re not in color. I like to copy on Astrobrights too! Have a super summer!

  2. Thank you so much for all your tips. I always think I’m crazy for wanting to get ahead and begin planning for the next school year. Now I know I’m not the only one doing this!!!

    1. We’re not crazy – everyone else is for not using this time wisely ๐Ÿ™‚ Haha Thanks for stopping by, Norma!

  3. Wonderful advice! I have Jodi’s menus as well. Do you provide paper for the students and do you have a separate homework assignment for Spelling words and Reading Log each week?

    1. I don’t plan to give them extra paper this year! However, in the past, I’ve used my 1st Grade Spelling & Writing homework (linked above!) and that has room for the journal writing on back!

  4. Have you tried Walmart.com for Laddie pencils? They are almost half of what I had been paying. Online only.

  5. Do you ever find the poly folders with prongs on sale? I can’t find them much under $3.00 a folder which is a lot of money to pay for 30 folders. I need that many because we have a transient population.

    1. Yes! Sometimes I see those at the beginning of the year for 25 cents or so. Because you have such a transient population, write students’ names on the front of the folder with a sharpie and when kiddos leave, scribble on top of their name with a Dry Erase marker & the name will disappear so you can reuse ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Scroll to the very bottom of the post and click on the picture that says “Click here to grab these freebies!” ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Thank you for the ideas! I set up my bulletin boards for the next year before school lets out the year before. I cover the boards then with newspaper and when I come back during that crazy work week I just peel the paper off and I am done!

    1. So smart! Thankfully, our principal doesn’t make us take everything down. I feel so bad for the teachers that must do that ๐Ÿ™

  7. I stole this from a teacher at school for my homework folders. We write “Left at Home” and “Right Back to School” and put them on the corresponding side of the folder. It helps the kids review left and right daily.

  8. Your experience and expertise really shines through here-thsnk you for giving even us veterans some terrific ideas!

    Oh, and I use expensive-ish folders, too but your comment about them made me laugh out loud and was 100% spot on…”…the overwhelming smell of their breakfast’s leftover syrup is too much for ms…” Oh my goodness-I can’t tell you the number of times I experienced that! What a great laugh you gave me-thanks for that as much as the ideas!

  9. I used your planner pages for my 2017-2018 planner. I put them in a binder with a vinyl pocket in front. It is so functional! I have pocket dividers and sheet protectors. I put my curriculum maps and standards in the pockets and monthly calendars in the sheet protectors. It is just as cute and durable as any store bought planner! And much less expensive!!! Thank you so much!

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