It’s almost summer (yay!), and that means we get to talk about wrapping up the school year! Whether you’re returning to the same school next year or not, these tips will help you organize your room and make starting school next year a breeze.
Of course, there are 2,938,492,834 different things to get done to wrap up the school year (e.g., progress reports, last minute IEPs, end of the year gifts, and much more!), but this post will focus on getting your speech room organized for next year. If you want more ideas, then check out this post for ideas on how to keep track of all your other “end of the year” to dos!
Now let’s get started!
First things first…I take some time to get my materials organized. Even though I’m tired and exhausted, I like to get this done at the end of the year, because there are so many other things to accomplish at the beginning of the school year. I sometimes struggle to get started, but I know it’ll be worth it to walk into an organized speech room in the fall (or to leave an organized room for the next SLP)!
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1. Declutter Your Materials
The end of the school year is a great time to go through your materials and declutter! I like to take everything off of my shelves (and out of the cabinets) to go through it. I also empty out my desk. (It’s amazing what you’ll find!!) I sort everything by category (e.g., games, TPT materials, preschool toys, etc.). This makes it really easy to decide what I should keep (or not). If you’ve read any of Konmari’s books (see the link at the bottom of this post), this will sound very familiar! It’s kind of a mess at first, but it’s worth it–especially if you’re staying at the same school. I really think that an organized/decluttered therapy room makes it easier for me and my students to focus.
If you end up with too many materials in the “discard pile” after doing this, then see number 2 for idea on how to get rid of these materials!
2. Take an Inventory
You might not have time to make a list of everything you have, but–as you’re packing up–consider taking some quick pictures. Last year, I took picture of my games (all of them in one picture), card decks, etc. It only took a minute or two, and it was a good opportunity to do it (since I was packing and move stuff around anyway)!
If you’re decluttering, you can also take pictures of the things you don’t want. Last year, I put pictures of those materials on a Google Drive doc. It was kind of fun! I shared the document with the other SLPs in my district, and they got to sign up for the materials they wanted. They ended up “claiming” almost everything I posted, so I didn’t have to throw much away. It also made them very happy. 🙂
3. Pack It Up!
I use clear bins and label them. This makes it really easy to find things when I start unpacking in the fall. I don’t have to pack everything because many of my materials are already stored in a portable “system.” Check them out here!
I might also take some time to wipe down materials as I’m packing them, especially the ones that I know got lots of sneezes and snot. It’ll be nice to start the year off with germ-less toys. 😉
And then the papers…
4. Organize the Papers
Keeping up with all of the paperwork throughout the year is a struggle for me. Although I have done much better this year, I know I forgot to add copies of some students’ IEPs to their working files. Since I have to go through to file everyone’s treatment logs anyway, I do a quick audit of my files to make sure everything is in the right spot. Read about some tips for how I do this here.
As I’m organizing my room, I also go through and gather all of the papers (mostly therapy activities, parent handouts, and homework) that inevitably make their way around my speech room. I have a place for all of these papers (in a binder or a file), so I take some time to put them where they belong.
One last tip, especially if you’re switching schools…
5. Leave Notes
When I started at my current school, the previous SLP left me notes about the kids on my caseload and some important things to know about my school (e.g., a map, meeting information, important phone numbers, where to find important documents, list of students screened for follow-up, last year’s schedule, etc.). It was SO helpful!
So there you have it! I’m curious… Do you have an “end of the year” routine? Or not? Tell me about it in the comments!