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May 12, 2014 Keep Your Cool at the End of School! By Lindsey Petlak
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    The countdown to the end of the school year has begun, and this is when things usually start to get crazy! Between special events, field trips, packing up your classroom, and prepping for summer, report cards, and more, the train often derails in the last crucial month of school. Take care of yourself, stay organized, and plan ahead to avoid end-of-the-year chaos.


    Put YOUR Oxygen Mask on FIRST!

    As you might recall from my Spring Break post, I believe that it’s beyond important for teachers to take care of themselves in order to best take care of their students (and their own families). Honestly, I’m terrible at this and don’t even realize it. That’s why I’ve created the list below to help keep my sanity and actually ENJOY the end of the school year.



    Countdown to Summer:

    Students are counting down to summer because they can’t wait to bust out of those school doors for the final time this year and embark on summer magic. But let’s be honest, teachers are pretty excited about walking out for the last time and enjoying some R&R over the summer, too! 

    • Use your countdown to summer to plan and prioritize everything you both need and want to achieve in these final weeks. 

    • Create a checklist of wants and needs with deadline dates. I love using a variety of different tech tools for this including: Google Tasks, Cozi, and Wunderlist.

    • Knock items off of your to-do checklist little by little and enjoy the gratification of whittling down your task load!

    • Make counting down FUN and stylish by making your own countdown clipboard from the fab ladies at eighteen25!



    Even during a typical school week, I’m terrible about planning ahead and prepping for breakfasts and lunches to be eaten during the school day. I’m a girl who NEEDS to have both of those meals to have the energy it takes to survive a school day, so that ends up meaning I throw a bunch of random stuff into a bag and rush off to school or stop at someplace (like Starbucks) and try to purchase the healthiest option possible.

    It’s my goal to do a weekend meal prep of healthy, energy-packed choices for this last month of school. I’ll save money and feel better as we sprint to the last day. Below is the menu that I’m planning on assembling this weekend. I found both recipes on Pinterest (imagine that!). These dishes are super simple to make, store, and serve, and (best of all) they are DELICIOUS!




    Follow my Pinterest board Yummy! for more healthy, delicious, and convenient recipes.


    Find Your Zen:

    Isn’t it ironic that the time when you most need to de-stress with exercise, yoga, or just getting outside for a walk is also when you have the most hectic schedule? Make time to engage in de-stressing activities. For me, it’s going to mean setting a goal of yoga, Pilates, and WERQ (my favorite dance class) each week. I find this forces me to take at least 30 minutes to clear my mind and focus on wellness. It will be tough to squeeze these in, but I know if I do I’ll feel better, de-stress, and be more productive in the end! 

    Try this easy yoga workout at home by Elena Rover, 

    as featured on the Real Simple website!



    Clean House:

    Nothing cleanses the aura of a hectic classroom and end-of-year schedule better than cleaning and organizing your space. You don’t need to use every material, book, and resource in your room throughout the last month of school. Make end-of-year packing up simpler by prioritizing need and usage and slowly packing away items you don’t need over the next few weeks. As you do this, ELIMINATE ANYTHING YOU DON’T ACTUALLY USE OR NEED. (Repeat that to yourself 5 to 10 times until you do it.) Throw away, give away, pack away. Clear out that clutter! Clean those shelves and surfaces as you pack up materials. Tackle your overloaded email inbox and check that off the list, too. Not only will this big cleanup cleanse your room, but it will also cleanse your mind and make the the final pack up a breeze.


    Enjoy and Reflect:

    There’s nothing worse than letting the craziness of the school year ending mean you miss out on enjoying the last few weeks with your sweet students or reflecting on the growth and achievements of both your students and yourself over the past nine months. If you are anything like me, I find myself typically focusing on what went wrong with a lesson plan, my never-ending to-do list (for which there’s never enough time to complete), or worrisome student-specific issues.

    It’s my goal to reflect on the milestones, fun times, relationships, and achievements of every student in my class (and myself as a professional) throughout these next few weeks. Fretting over imperfections or (let’s face it) things you needed to complete and won’t have time to is pointless. Your students can read — and will react to — your demeanor, so let’s give them a positive projection to reflect upon!

    Congratulations on (nearly) completing another school year! You’ve braved the waters of the Common Core State Standards, handled classroom management like a pro, and forever changed the lives of every single student who had the privilege to be placed in your class. Plan ahead, take care of yourself, and most importantly, enjoy these last few weeks with your students by celebrating your successful year together!


    Thanks for reading, and see you next week!


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