Since it’s May, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the end of the school year. Here are my suggestions for surviving the end of the school year so you can have a relaxing summer, and so you can come back at the start of next school year refreshed and organized!

1. Plan out the rest of the year

Since as I write this, I only have three weeks left, I recently sat down and figured out exactly what I needed to do with each grade level by the end of the year. You can simply make a table in Word or use Excel, and list each lesson by week, which assessments you're doing, which concepts you're presenting or practicing, etc.

I have year plans for every grade level, but these four-week plans have exactly what I know I can get to and aren't necessarily as detailed as year plans.

In my district, we've moved to standards-based grading, so I must give grades by categories of standards instead of just one music grade. Figuring out which assessments I was doing for the remainder of the school year was very helpful to make sure I had all my categories/ standards covered.

2. Find out about field trips, parties, assemblies, etc.

The end of the year can be crazy with so many field trips, field days, assemblies, etc. I just sent out an email last week to find out about when students might not be coming to music, because then I truly know how many more lessons I have with each class.

In some cases, there is only one lesson left! I know I should be excited about summer, and I am, but I feel like I still have so much to teach them and so little time!

3. Decide what you HAVE to teach...and what you can teach next year

Don't feel guilty. You didn't get to everything. We rarely do. So, decide what you really still HAVE to teach, and what you can wait until the start of next year to teach. We are really lucky that in a K-5 or K-6 setting, we typically have the students from year to year, so we know exactly where we left off and where we can begin.

I thought I'd get to "la" with first grade, because I thought I had four more lessons with them. But then when I looked at all the field trips, assemblies, etc., I realized that a few of the classes I only had two more lessons with, and they won't be ready for la at that point.

I'll have to present it in second grade. It's OK. No guilt! (Well, maybe a little...but that's also OK!)

4. Organize your stuff now!

I am pretty organized when it comes to lessons and digital files, but when it comes to physical items, I struggle. My first instinct to seeing a mess of things is to just shove things in and close the lid/drawer. So, a few weeks ago, I decided that every day, I would organize a little bit. It's too overwhelming to think about cleaning everything at once, so I've taken a drawer a day and have worked at it.

I'm super excited about leaving the room in an organized state, because at the start of next school year, I'll open a drawer and know where everything is, which is a great feeling.

5. Think about next year

I know it seems way too early to think about next school year, but by thinking about it now, you can save yourself so much time and stress later. I recently found a few things on Pinterest that I decided I wanted to try next year, so I created a secret board called “To try next year” that I can refer to later.

If you do a classroom theme, think about how you might want to decorate next year so that you can keep your eye out on décor over the summer.

Lastly, make sure to reflect on what worked well for you this year, and what you’d like to try next year. You’ll feel that much more prepared and ready for next school year. Have a great end of the school year!