What are the Must Dos for Mid-Year Planning? This is a great time to make a game plan and use your time wisely to improve your classroom, tackle that endless to-do list without students in the classroom, and make your classroom function and flow like never before. Let’s tackle the Must Dos for Mid-Year Planning.
What is Mid-Year Planning?
Sometimes the school calendar sets up teacher workdays that fall in the middle of the school year. For my school district, this happens to fall at the start of January each year. It is an ideal time for many middle and high school teachers to input grades, compile averages, and so forth. Of course, sometimes we elementary teachers do many of these things as well. Additionally, sometimes we are lucky to be given a little time to work in our actual classroom. This is a real treat because students are not back to school yet.
Must Do #1- Make a Plan and a List
Take a few minutes to make a list of the things you have to get done. This will most likely include entering grades, finishing required paperwork, organizing portfolios, and so on. Make sure you write down the required meetings. I have found that after attending meetings, my to-do lists grow. Keep in mind that as you cross things off your list, you will also be adding to your list. Next, add things you need to get done for your classroom. This may be things like cleaning off your desk or sorting through a center activity. Check over your list again to make sure you remember what you need to do.
I always write my list on my whiteboard in my class so I can cross it off and add to it easily. I also usually have stacks of things to sort and work on laying on the tables in my classroom. This simply allows me to see the workload I am dealing with so I can tackle the needed items. I am a believer that sometimes things look worse before they can look better.
Must Do #2- Use Your Time Wisely
Since this mid-year planning day is a great time to work in my classroom, without students, I like to make sure that I work as much as I can. This means that sometimes I shut my door and put on my headset to listen to music and work. I not trying to be antisocial, but I am trying to get things done. This also means that I bring my lunch with me to work so I can save that time as well.
I really try to improve a problem area in my classroom each planning day. Sometimes this means sorting out books in my class library. Other times this means cleaning out cubbies. Other times this means sorting out bins or materials. I try to slowly improve my classroom each day. I try to focus on the needs of my students for the second half of the school year and anticipate how I can help them.
Must Do #3- Tackle the Requirements First
Another Must Do for Mid Year Planning is obvious: Tackle the requirements first isn’t fun but it is important. For me, this means entering report card data. Since I don’t enjoy this task, I complete on required section, then I move on to a fun job to rest my eyes from the screen. Once that fun job is done, I enter another section of report cards in, then move on to another fun job. It is like a little reward between requirements.
Must Do #4- Try to Get Ahead
If your time permits work a little bit extra to get ahead during your mid-year planning. I like to try to plan out as much of January as I can during my planning days. I also prep as many centers, small group activities, and games as I can. This just helps me save time during the school week. I also take time to prep things I have been wanting to send home or get organized. (If you need some help getting ahead, this may be a huge time saver!)
What is on my list this year? On my to-do list this year, I want to send home Raz Kids log-ins to parents and prep for their log-ins for the classroom. I also want to take my Fry Sight Word Stations and make them into RTI notebooks for my students like I did for my Dolch words before. (You can check this out here.)
Additionally, I grabbed some great sale items online over the break so I want to ingrate these into my classroom as well. I found some awesome magnetic boards and Osmo iPhone bases that are going to be amazing. (You can always check out the great deals I find here.)
Must Do #5- Clean
I cleaned my room before I left in December but I have found it wise to give it another good wipe down before students enter in January. If Lysol made a room fogger, I would purchase it and do a deep clean. I want to eliminate all the germs I can from all the surfaces I can. During this process, I am also sorting organizing, and purging the items I don’t need. Since I moved classrooms three times in three years, I don’t have everything in the exact place that I want things so organization and cleaning are always a work in progress.