I remember a few years ago I was teaching second grade.  A friend on mine came in carrying AR cards (this was when the school was in full AR mode) and mentioned she was going to laminate them.  I remember asking her, “Why? Don’t you already have them?” It was, like, the last week of school.  Who were these kids that were taking so many AR tests that they needed new cards? Say what!?!?!

Then, the angels sang and she replied, “Oh, these are for next year.”

Wait, NEXT year?

I was barely holding on for dear life.  Field day had wiped me out.  End of the year assessments were piled and in dire need of scoring (just as a little note of irony, I misspelled this word when first writing the blog post and spell check corrected it as “screwing!” That is about right, too! LOL!!!) . And report cards? Let’s not even GO there!

Then, I decided to give it a go. And it was miraculous. How had I never even THOUGHT of this before?!?! I always started preparing for the new school year….well, when it was the new school year! But this dear friend (love ya, Shannon!) taught me better!

So, how can you make this as painless as possible?

First, sit down and consider creating a list of all the things you can copy, create or make, and buy for the next school year. I am a big fan of lists and I think they can help you stay on track.  You might also want to grab a teacher friend and pick their brains to see if you guys can come up with things to do in advance to make life easier.

These were my to do lists from a few years ago if you want an example.  Want a blank copy of the list above? Click on the picture below for a FREE copy!
Looking for more specifics on how to prepare?  Let’s think about this!
I always tried to hit up the teacher store (I always went to the School Box) in May.  I usually knew my theme for the next school year and we found out our next year’s grade assignments with about 2-3 weeks left in the school year.  This made it MUCH easier to prepare!  The teacher store was always CRAZY come August, when school started.  And the week of pre-planning was just a MESS!
Usually the store as pretty well stocked- even in May!  I went and picked up things like:
A new grade book or planner
More border if I was out
Charts/ bulletin board displays I knew I would need
People cut outs for my Classroom Promise
Library Pockets- I used a billion of these
Die Cuts for my Hall Display– I laminated them and put them on clothespins.
Name Tags– I used these for name tags- but also to label things around the classroom
Smaller, theme matching die cuts– I used these to label my organizational boxes, the kids book boxes, etc.
Any other ideas?
I know this time of year, the copier may make you feel like this…
or even this…
Really though, it can be your best friend right now.
The beginning of the year copier lines were CAH-RA-ZEE. And on top of that, we had to WAIT until the paper even came in!  It wasn’t available that first day. So, if you have access to paper and copies now?  Jump on that thing!
What are some things you can copy now?  Well, how about…
Anything  you know you will use each week:
Weekly fluency poems
Estimation jar sheets for each month
Math speed drill tests
Friday folder covers
Weekly progress report
Spelling tests
Any beginning of the year assessments you know you will need like:
 DRA test
Anecdotal note sheets
DRA graph sheets
Papers that you use regularly like:
Guided math binder sheets
Copies for student dictionaries or resource books
Sneak a Peek/ Registration paperwork for Parents:
sign in sheet
will I get home the first week?
form for rest of the year
information sheet
card on card stock
information sheet
will I go home sheet
permission for pictures 
All of these Sneak a Peek/ Registration forms above are available in my store for only $2. A variety of themes are available.  You can find them here or by clicking on the picture below.
Are you lucky enough to have parent volunteers?  I know as the school year winds down they may not be able to work with the kids due to special events and disruptions to the schedule.  Still have them come in and do some grunt work!  Most parents love to help in any way and they can save TONS of time!
So what can volunteers do?  How about:
Create/ staple student dictionary
Laminate and cut out any hall displays, name tags, labels, or border for next year (HUGE time saver for you!)
Laminate large sheets of construction paper (12 x 18) for hall display and cut out
Hot glue die cuts to clothespins for hall display
Create book baggies to go home for guided reading and laminate (I should write a post on this…)
Sharpen pencils (mundane but oh-so-needed)
Stuff or create birthday bags or treat (if you give birthday students a treat)
Here is an example of my hallway from the past:
It is nothing special, but a great use of parent volunteer time (rather than mine!).
Any other ideas I am missing?  I am sure there are several!
Start thinking about all the things, such as school supplies, you need for next year.  I did have *some* money the school provided and I always turned in the order before the year ended.  This was great because I got my supplies, such as construction paper earlier, which was much needed.  However, it was never enough.
The VERY end of the year (I am talking about post planning here) I tried to go through my cabinets and make a list of things I needed such as velcro, paper clips,  clip boards, a new bucket for recess toys, or sheets for the bulletin board display.
This was very helpful because when you are going to garage sales (do you do this, too?  Guilty pleasure of mine!) you can look for any  of the items on your list for super cheap.  
It also helps when all those back to school flyers start coming out so you actually buy what you need…rather than what you “feel” you need.  Or “might” need.  But you’re not sure because you haven’t looked in your cabinet since school got out two months ago. So you will just buy it “in case.” You will return it if you don’t need it.  Except you get too busy and never return it.
No…you don’t do that? 
You can store all this in your “Next Year” box.  You do have one of those, right?  If not, read here or click on the picture below to learn about this life saver!
Anything I can add to my list?
How do YOU prepare for the new school year?