Fun Ways to Prep for Next School Year during the Summer

Being a teacher definitely has its perks and summer is definitely one of them! After we put all of our energy into our classroom and students for a year, we need these months to relax. But, also, like most good teachers, it's hard to turn off our teacher brain for the summer. After all, we do ENJOY our jobs :)
Here are a few of my favorite fun ways to prep during the summer. No paperwork, just fun classroom stuff. Plus, the more you pin, um I mean prepare this summer, the easier your school year will go!

Garage Sales: I love finding unique (and cheap) materials to use with my students while shopping yard sales over the summer. Think materials for work boxes, games, books, etc. Some of my best finds were these pill boxes that I made into 3 different work task boxes. I've also stocked my game cabinet for cheap this way. And you can find so many sensory things at garage sales too.

ALL of the laminating: There is something about laminating that makes me so happy. And it's so nice to get stuff laminated without a deadline. Do some laminating while watching movies on summer nights and you'll have tons of fun resources to start the year with! I recommend doing some file folders, task cards, or adapted books.

Brainstorm: How do you want your classroom to run next year? How do you want to set it up? I love searching classrooms and ideas on pinterest and reading through blogs to get all sorts of ideas for the year. I also like drawing out my classroom layout so when I get into my classroom I can move things around and have a idea of where I think everything should go.

Pinterest! Is there seriously a better way to get new ideas? I don't think so! Surf pinterest and get some awesome ideas for your class next year :)


Follow me on Pinterest! I'll be pinning ideas all summer long!

And don't forget to...Relax! Get tan! Read! Have fun! Do whatever you love that you don't have time during the school year. I highly recommend sleeping in ;)

Unique Ways to use Bingo Games in your Special Ed Classroom

Bingo is everyones favorite educational, vocabulary game, right? If it isn't, you must be doing something wrong. Picture bingo is the absolute best! It works on so many skills, keeps kids involved, and adds some fun into your everyday lessons.


We use bingo when working on various vocabulary skills and while discussing various topics or community outings. I usually pick out a card, talk about it...("This is something healthy at the grocery store, it's in the produce section, carrots and beans are some of these, VEGETABLES! Find vegetables on your card.") and then I will be sure to show the card to my students so that they are able to match if they can't find it.

I love playing bingo in a variety of different ways in order to keep things interesting and also to work on additional skills. Here's some of my favorite ways to switch it up!
  • Object Discrimination: Instead of calling cards, if you have a projector, type the name into google images and show the pictures and the students have to state what they see and find it on their cards. 
  • Money Skills: Instead of bingo chips, use coins and have students “put the quarter on the ____”, etc. A great way to sneak in some money math skills!
  • Fine Motor / Fishing Fun: 
    Put paperclips on the calling cards and use a magnetic fishing pole (find it at the dollar store) to have students fish to call the next item!
  • Have students be the bingo callers: You can do this in multiple ways, ranging from using an AbleNet spinner that students can activate with a switch, to pulling a card from options (pick a card, any card), or giving a student full rein! They've been watching you, they might know exactly what to do! I had a student who when leading bingo would sound exactly like me, make sure to walk up and show the distracted student the card, give high fives as appropriate, and even used my little phrases! It was too funny. I could have left and let him run the class ;)
Storing ALL those BINGO boards! Now, let's talk storage. If you love bingo as much as I do (and you should), you will have a lot of bingo games! The easiest way for me to organize my bingo boards is in page protectors in a huge binder. I store all of the cards for one subject in one page protector, along with the calling cards. I DO NOT laminate my bingo boards. If I give a board to a student who is rough with their paper, I put their bingo paper into one of these clearboard sheet protectors. I do usually laminate the calling cards, especially if we are fishing or letting students run the game. Plus, I often using the calling cards as vocabulary cards as well. I love it when things have a dual purpose! Do you ever have bingo games that come without picture calling cards, I just cut up an extra bingo board.
I also find that bingo games make for excellent sub plans, especially when you need something at the last minute! How else do you use bingo games in your class? You can find these bingo boards (and more) in my community units. For holidays and common themes, I usually have good luck finding bingo boards with a google search!
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