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End of the Year Survival

THREE!  Three more days!  Where has this year gone?  With 24 snow days it feels like I've left several things just a little incomplete.  It's okay though, as I pack up my room and celebrate the last few days of school with my students I know that we've grown and made lots of great music together.

Let's talk about a few survival tips for flying through the end of the school year.

1.  Organize! 
For me, the end of the year seems to bring about a panic like race to get everything finished.  I have 2 kindergarten graduation ceremonies that I do that include a full concert and the diploma ceremony.  In addition there are always banquets, award ceremonies and all of that end of the year paperwork.  I've found that the more organized I am the easier it is to bounce back from these events.  In a few days I'm going to post a HUGE blog post about classroom organization and even show you my messy closets!  So check back to see the transformation.

For me, organization is simply having a defined place for everything.  Even if that space is a little messy, as long as what is supposed to be there is actually there I count it as good!  So, think about how you use your supplies. What do you use every day?  What things can be hidden because they are only used seasonally?  What's the best container for stashing your supplies?

For me, I like to put things in a place and then label that space.  As the school year comes to an end I just clear off the shelves in my classroom and put them in my storage space in their appropriate place.  Props and manipulatives go together.  Bulletin boards, borders and posters go together and so do all of the many notepads that I've collected to create bulletin boards and other displays.  Office supplies are sorted and stored.  Paper work is filed or pitched.  I'm just now starting to save digital copies of some of those papers and pitch the hard copies.  

Finding ways to group like items will make it easy to pack up your room and even easier to set it up come fall.

2.  Look at the plan.
I keep a spreadsheet of all of the activities I'd like to do with each grade each quarter.  It's not exactly a curriculum guide, but it does help me with planning.  Also in this file are a list of songs that I want students to leave each year knowing.  As the last month approaches I take a look at this list again.  Often I'll add songs that we've done or activities that I'd like to move to a different quarter.  I also use this as a great way to set up some review games or some "sing through the school year" sessions where we sing all of the songs we've learned this year.

If you don't keep a plan like this, it is a great time to start one.  Look back at your lesson plans and just take a few notes on projects, units or themes that you did this year.  This is a good place to start for next year!

3.  Plan your summer.
I know...I know...it's summer, but I love learning.  I love trying new things.  I LOVE going to music related professional development.  Even in the summer.  That makes me crazy, right?  LOL.  Consider taking a class to get your Orff or Kodaly certification.  Contact local music shops that may offer music reading sessions to help you select music for the year.  

4.  Be flexible.
The end of the year tends to be filled with field trips, last minute assemblies, field days, rain days for field days and more.  Plan lessons that are fun and musical, but that can be shortened or extended if needed.  Often with my 4th, 5th and 6th graders I'll have a folder of PowerPoints with lyrics and song files attached.  They are mostly songs we've learned during the school year but I'll also add things like "Let it Go" from Frozen and "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.  Fun stuff!  We love to sing songs this way.  The PowerPoints offer visual interest and save tons of paper copies of lyrics.

With several classes we're working on Music Memory Books.  These books help us reflect on the year and provide great insights as to what students really connected with!  

Teachers you can get these Music Memory Books here.  We can work on these an entire period or just a little bit depending on our schedule.  While working on them play some of the music you've learned this year.  Impromptu sing-alongs are fun!  

If you're a regular classroom teacher or home school you might like this memory book that is musically themed but designed for the regular classroom.


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    1. End of June? Oh my goodness! Of course, I bet you'll be soaking up the sunshine when I head back in August! LOL. I hope you enjoy the memory book!

    2. Uh oh...I think I may have inadvertently clicked something. I can't seem your comment! LOL. Sorry Steph!

  2. I have a sincerely pitiful question.... When you are in the midst of making your memory books with the classes, what is your storage method for keeping all the classes straight and together? I am normally a very organized gal, but in this area, I'm coming up short! :(

    1. If I'm going to do this or any writing activity like it I usually have the kids put the books together the very first day or I give them to them already assembled. I do many writing activities through the year so I have mailboxes for each class. We'll just pop them in the appropriate mailbox and pull them out the next time them come. Although I really want them to finish before they take them home that doesn't always happen, so if they miss a class or are checked out earlier or whatever I'll just send it home with them unfinished and encourage them to finish it at home with their parents. Sometimes the end of the year is SO crazy that I can start this project and never finish it due to last minute assemblies or trips. Then I want to take the whole stack to their classroom teacher and have her pass them back for me. :-) If you take a look at the following blog post you'll see pictures of my classroom this year. The very last picture shows my mailboxes on my supply table. http://mrskingrocks.blogspot.com/2013/08/classroom-tour-2013.html