A New School Year: Getting Organized & Ready

I took a B-I-G leap of faith this spring.  I wanted to work closer to home, and I made the decision to change school districts.  With that being said...I moved all of my classroom goodies out of the classroom.  Now my entire classroom is *crammed* into my house.  I was able to move the big pieces of furniture into my new classroom already, but the custodial staff asked that I not set up until they prep the room for the new year.  Fair enough!  Here is my current view in my home office. {YIKES!}  And this is just what can be seen without opening closet doors.  {Holy smokes!}

  


Believe it or not, I have actually combed through and discarded a ton of stuff.  I have recycled, purged, and given away.  But wait...there's more.  Did I mention my classroom stuff is also taking up an entire side of the garage? 
Gahhhhhhhhhhhhh!  This makes me nervous to look at and embarrassed to share with you!
You can imagine that the family is getting pretty sick of my stuff.  Cars that normally park in the garage have been in the driveway all summer.  We have to move a tower of junk good stuff just to get the lawn mower out of the garage.  It's a whole thing.  I am ready for the school year to begin simply so I can place my stuff where it belongs.  Which is here...in my new classroom.

This building has TONS of '70s charm...and leftovers from the previous teacher!

This mural wall will soon be covered with six giant hearts full of heart words...just like in my previous classroom.
Since I can't get into my new room to set up yet, I decided to start prepping as much as possible at home. It has been a fabulous way to beat the heat.  I keep the A/C blasting, which keeps me working hard. Yes, even with the towers of mess around me, I have been working in my office.  All of those nitty-gritty tasks that suck the life right out of ya once the school year begins are getting marked off my to-do list!  I wanted to use a different alphabet chart for my writer's workshop file jackets this year.  Since I use Nellie Edge's ABC Sing, Sign, and Read Phonics to introduce letters and for my wall alphabet, I thought it would be nice to have the same chart for students to use during writing time.  I modified the chart in the image below so that it would fit the back of our writer's workshop file jackets, but you can download her original chart for FREE on her site: https://nellieedge.com/abc-phonics/abc-phonics-program/

I have added a list for important words this year!  Perfect for words that kids ask how to spell over and over again.
I purchased Tara West's nonfiction hands-on centers.  No, I do not *need* more centers for my reading station rotations.  However, I love the fact that this packet was FULL of nonfiction word work activities.  This center-style activity will be used during my small group reading instruction.  I can't wait to use them!  This will also be a great bundle of games for classroom volunteers to play with small groups of students. 

The front...
I made sure to number each set of cards and mats to ensure easier clean up.  {Numbering or labeling pieces of a set is actually a great tip for puzzle pieces, too.}  That packet of centers has several other hands-on word work games that I have already printed and laminated this week.  Here is a link to that bundle of centers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Nonfiction-Centers-Bundle-3803225

...and the numbers around back.
Oh, and my two tall file cabinets have been part of a major overhaul this summer.  No more paper master copies of anything.  I mean it.  I ditched them in the recycle bin.  I moved to digital everything this year, and I am not missing the files and files of papers!  I have utilized the file cabinets to house my A-Z Readers leveled books (for take-home book bags).  I blogged about that last month.  (You can read that post here.

As of today. the file cabinets also have an entire school year's worth of interactive sight word books from Maria Gavin.   I own both bundles of books, and I use them in one of my reading stations.  Students choose from one of four books to create.  I swap the books every couple of weeks.  It's a student favorite!

You can find bundle 1 here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Bundle-of-Books-Interactive-Sight-Word-Reader-BUNDLED-Set-479568  

You can find bundle 2 here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Bundle-of-Books-Part-2-Interactive-Sight-Word-Reader-BUNDLED-Set-1059219

The numbered tabs represent the week of the school year.  I roll out three words per week and store the books in order of my roll out to help me stay organized.
The top draw of one of the cabinets is ready to stuff full of recording sheets, books, and whatever else will be needed each day from September alllllll the way through December.  If nothing else, it is a great place to store those upcoming lessons.  I did this last year, and it made my life so much easier those first few months of school.  Mainly, I love that there is a place for everything.  No more wandering through the room questioning where I placed that freshly copied set of _____ (you fill in the blank).  Once a week is over, I pull the empty file folders and place them in the very back of the drawer.  My goal for the upcoming year is to have a set of files for January through June prepped before the end of winter break.

Don't you just LOVE Post-It Flags????  I sure do.  I used them as date file tabs.
Are you relaxing this summer and not thinking at all of school?  Are you busy prepping for the year?  I have done a little of both.  As the year creeps closer, I find myself prepping more and more. I know myself well.  Doing all of this now will save my sanity come mid-September!  I hope your summer has been great!  I would love to hear what you do to get yourself ready for a new year.

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