June 27, 2022
By Jenna Prada, M.Ed
At the end of the year most students want to throw their backpack into a closet and forget about it until the fall, but a few wisely spent minutes in June can set them up for success come September. Here’s a checklist to organize an end of year wrap-up of both physical materials and this year’s lessons:
A quick backpack clean-out will ensure that your child starts next school year fresh and it will also save you the time of assessing what you need to buy in the fall.
- Empty backpacks entirely, and throw out all the trash. The rest of the materials will either be school supplies or papers and you can deal with them accordingly.
- For supplies you’ll need next year, put them in a pencil case in the backpack. If there are items that need to be replaced, take note of that now: no one wants to start off the new school year with a collection of eraser-less pencils! Save this list somewhere you can easily find in a few months. It’s a great idea to put in your calendar an alert that will pop up about two weeks before school starts reminding you to assess your child’s school supplies.
While most documents from this school year can be thrown out once courses have concluded, some deserve saving. Go through the below process for both physical papers and digital files.
- For cumulative courses of study (think math, some science that might include an AP test later, etc.), put major assessments & any organized notes in a clearly labeled folder, making sure physical and digital files share a naming system. Your child did so much work this year, it’d be a shame not to be able to take advantage of it in the future.
- If there is work that your child is particularly proud of but that won’t be useful going forward, move it to a memory box or whatever serves that purpose in your home.
- For larger items such as art projects or science fair displays, take photos that can be stored with your other documents.
- Recycle or delete everything that didn’t get filed for future reference or nostalgia.
Now is the best time to reflect on what can be learned from your child’s struggles and triumphs this year. Write down or record a voice memo answering the following questions. You can come back to the answers in the fall as you set goals for the new school year.
- Did their performance on tests reflect their understanding this school year? Why or why not?
- Were they generally able to turn in their best work on nightly homework this school year? Why or why not?
- Were they proud of their work for long-term projects this school year? Why or why not?
- What was their biggest struggle this year?
- What routine, habit, or strategy might help them avoid a similar struggle next year?
- What’s one (or more!) routine, habit, or strategy that they learned this year that they definitely can make use of again next year?