Summer To Do List (For New Teachers and Teachers Changing Grades) PART 1

Well it's that wonderful time of the year... where we get to relax and rejuvenate for the new school year.  I am very excited to be off right now, but I do still take those moments to get my head into gear for the new year.  And this year, I'm changing grades... BY CHOICE! I've loved being in 3 and 3/4, but I really wanted to see what it's like in other grades.  So I am branching out and moving to...
a 6/7 SPLIT!  I can hear the audible gasp most of you are making!  It's the reaction I have had when I have told people of my move.  But I am looking forward to the new challenges ahead.

So, since I am moving on up, I have had to set a Summer To Do List.  And you should have one too.  Summer To Do Lists help to keep you focused and on track. It will also make your transition into the new year a little smoother, and help to calm those nerves. Especially if you are a new teacher, or a teacher changing grades.  It can be difficult because you don't know what to expect from students those first few days.  And that's why I started my list!

If you don't have a Summer to do list, read mine! Here are the first few items in my Top Ten Summer To Do List:


Over the years I have gone to Scholar's Choice and bought new packs of those letters, and have placed them in my classroom. But I don't know if this happens to you... they break by mid year, and just don't look right.  So, I have figured out what I want each of my walls to say:
Wonderful Writing
Marvelous Math
Exploring Science and Social Studies
Radical Reading
Awesome Art
I figured regardless of the grades that I teach in the future, these are the boards that I would like to have up. And of course I have Learning Goal and Key To Success for subtitles for each.
Other areas that I needed to create were word wall letters (yes even for this age group), an agenda board, and schedule and task cards.  I went through my classroom and took sketches of each of the boards, and then I planned out where I would put all of the items and what I would call those boards.

The next stage of this project required me to get a little crafty. I have opted to make these words and headers myself.  TPT has lots of wonderful clipart and nice looking fonts.  I have used powerpoint to create them, and I sent them to Staples to be printed on cardstock so that I don't waste my ink and my paper.  Next, I cut them out and laminated them.  This will look SO much better.  This will make my boards look more uniform, crisp and clean.

Although I have finished planning out my boards and creating the materials I needed for them, I still can't scratch #10 off of my list year.  I have to wait until the last week of summer and actually put these boards up and together! Once all the boards are finished, I will post them, and see what you think!


With moving up in grades, I am also required to move rooms.  I'm leaving my lovely little grade 3, 4, 5 hallway to join the Middle School Hall. So, I have also already started #9 during the last week of school.  I looked at all of the materials I had in my classroom, and I was faced with a tough decision:
- Does it go to my new room?
- Do I take it home and store it?
- Do I donate it to a teaching partner?
- Do I pitch it?

Very little came with me to my new room, and very little came home with me.  I took a lot of my personal library books for my boys to read.  I also kept a lot of my bins and organizers.  But many of my other items I donated or pitched.  I had to look at it and ask myself:
- Do I use it?
- Do my students use it?
- Is it useful for my new set of students?
- Do I plan on returning to this grade and using this item again?

And I found that I hung on to a lot of stuff that I didn't even use.  I stopped using Scholastic Anchor Charts after my first year of teaching.  Now I make them with the students so that they are authentic.  So why hang on to it? It just adds clutter, and clutter will lead to a confused classroom.

This process is not over. As my husband likes to point out all of the time, I have 3 bins in my basement, waiting for me to go through.  I can see three, turning into one! At least that's my goal!  Less is best!  For my new classroom, and my basement ;)


I also have organization on my list!  Specifically, I want to start thinking about and planning for the organization of my classroom.  Here are somethings that I ask myself to help me plan this out:
- Where do I want my students to keep there materials?
- How will classroom shared materials and manipulatives be displayed?
- How am I going to display student work?
- How will I organize my classroom library?
- How should I arrange my desks?
- Should I have students in groups or rows?
- How will I organize my student assessment binder / materials?
- How should I organize materials for Substitute Teachers?
- What can I do to minimize clutter in the classroom?
- What kind of areas should I have in the room?
- What will their purpose be?
- How should I arrange my desk?
- SHOULD I EVEN HAVE A DESK? (Yes, I'm thinking about going "desk-less")

Some of these questions I have answered.  Others are still swirling in my head.  And I know that some of these will just have to come when I meet my class and the dynamics within them.  But if I have a plan in mind, and ideas just incase the plan falls through, then I will be more confident and run my classroom in a smooth manner.

Well, that's all for the First Addition to my Series "Summer To Do List." Please tune in tomorrow for Numbers 7, 6 and 5.  And please add comments below.  Are you getting your materials ready for your classroom?  Have you done a big purge of your old materials lately?  What are some items you had to hang on to?  What were some things you couldn't believe you kept? Do you have any answers to my organization questions? What works for you?


  1. Good luck with moving up! I hear you on the purge/donate/keep battle. I just retired and I had so much material to go through. Luckily I was able to pass on many things to new teachers that are starting out. I did keep way too much stuff, but I wasn't quite ready to let it go yet. I will wait a bit longer and do another purge. I just might need some of it for my grandchildren, right?
    It is funny how we used to rely on on the ready made posters, letters, and other materials before TPT. I have found that many of these are like new, but I didn't use them.
    I am glad to hear that you saved books for your students, especially boys. They need books that they will enjoy. Oh did I mention that I can't stop buying books. I think I stocked several classroom libraries during the last few weeks.
    As for your classroom organization, a colleague of mine had her students come into a near empty room and decide what they needed and where it should go. It seemed to work well for her and it gave them ownership. I wonder if something like that could work with grade 6/7.
    You have so many great ideas, I am feeling withdrawal. I can hardly wait to see your pictures.

    Charlene/Diamond Mom

  2. I have a teeny tiny desk and LOVE it! I say small desk or no desk. :)