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 two kindergarten graduation ceremonies 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.
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’re 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’s 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’re 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!
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 you home school, you might like this memory book that’s musically themed but designed for the regular classroom.
Tracy King, a.k.a the Bulletin Board Lady, has taught music for 20 years to all grade levels including band and choir. In addition to teaching music she has taught technology classes to both students and teachers. She shares her love of music and learning by presenting workshops to educators and authoring Mrs. King’s Music Class. Currently, she’s focusing on creating engaging activities and bulletin boards for all subject areas in her store The Bulletin Board Lady on Teachers Pay Teachers. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to be inspired!