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End-of-the-Year Reflections

By Nancy Jang on May 12, 2011
  • Grades: 1–2

As the school year draws to a close, I begin reflecting back on everything that's happened. What were the challenges this year? What could I have done differently? Join me as I answer these questions and more. You can also watch a cute video below of a few of my students reflecting on their 2nd grade year.

The end of 2nd grade is exciting and sad at the same time. My students have grown, learned, and changed so much in the past months. At our K–2 school, the 2nd graders will graduate and move on to our sister school across the street. They are looking forward to attending school with the older children and moving on in their educational careers.

Reflecting back on this year, I thought of the new things I tried and the things that I need to work on, including:


DSC00679 Classroom Library

This year I changed my classroom library from front-facing, wall-mounted shelves to baskets organized by genre. It took me a long time to sort and label the books last summer, but I was ready by the beginning of the school year. I was worried that my kids would not be able to return the books to their proper areas and that the library would be a mess. After living with this new system for a year, I'm happy to report that the kids were very responsible about returning the books to their correct bins.


DSC00676Behavior Management

This year, in the middle of the year, I found a cool rainbow clip chart for classroom management from Rick Morris of New Management. I was using a stoplight, but I wanted to find a way to reward my great kids. It worked like a charm: it really allowed me to encourage model behavior in my well-behaved children while monitoring the kids who needed reminders and consequences. The kids really enjoyed competing with each other to move their pins up the chart during the day.






Lunch Count and Closet OrganizationDSC00678

This is the second year that we have had to take a lunch count, and the magnets seemed to work out well. When the students came in the door in the morning, they moved a star to the area of their lunch choice. Last year I had paper star die cuts with the students' numbers on them, but it took forever for them to find their numbers, which caused traffic jams, with kids complaining and pushing.





As I have confessed in previous posts, I am not a naturally organized person. This is the first year that I both succeeded and failed at organizing my closets. The office supplies stayed organized in the correct bins, but the art supply closet didn't stay organized at all. The odd-sized containers for paint and watercolors never seemed to fit back into the closet the same way. My goal for next year is to reorganize the art supplies into smaller, uniform containers by media type. Also, the closet was overstuffed, so I couldn't readily get in and out of it. I also need to label the containers more clearly.









Curtain Closets

I have a love/hate relationship with these closets. They are wonderful in that they provide invaluable space for my shelving and a way to keep all of my language arts materials together and organized in a way that is easy to access and easy to hide. The curtain closet closest to my desk, however, is still a jumble of piles hidden behind a curtain.


So this summer, both the art closet and one of the curtain closets are in for a total overhaul.




Math Program

This year we adopted a new math program that is different from our old program in that the students receive newspaper-type handouts every day instead of having a math book. Also included in the program is a large baggie of math manipulatives for every student. So in addition to organizing math materials that I already had, I had to organize 25 sets of counters, base ten blocks, pattern blocks, linking cubes, etc., while keeping them easily accessible for me and for students working on their own. Overall, this worked well. The manipulatives were easy to clean up and return to their containers and the teacher's editions and the supplemental materials I had collected were easily sorted into the magazine files. I will probably continue to use this system next year.

DSC00682 DSC00691

Come back next week when my students will share their writing in a special Author's Chair Book Talk video. We will be reading books that my students wrote for the Young Author's Fair in our school district.

Happy teaching,





Comments (62)

Hi Nancy, I am a new reader of your post and love it. Currently I am a 4th grade teacher but it looks like I am moving to 1st or 2nd next year and I am very excited. I will be changing a lot due to the new grade level but I think the largest change I am going to make is not leveling my library anymore but rather organize it by genre, theme, and possibly also by favorite authors. I notice so often that students aren't interested in picking a book from the "m" basket, but rather want to read about their interests. :) (I am interested in the language arts bundle)

Thanks for all of your great tips and inspiring words each week! ~Katie

I also teach 2nd grade. I love the behavior system from New Management. I have used it this year. I do love the fact that i reward good behavior! My kids responded well to it! One thing i plan to work on this summer is my supply closet!!! I started out neat but right now it is a mess so i need to get busy! Thanks for letting me enjoy your reflections! 2nd grade is the best!

I also teach 2nd. This year I also changed my classroom behavior plan half way through the year after attending a training on Teaching With Love and Logic. While I feel it worked out well, I did find myself going back to some of my old behavior routines as time went on, and I want to be more concrete with that next year. Now that I've had situations arise I wasn't expecting, I'll be more prepared for next year.

I would like to better organize my math supplies as well. Just like you, we adopted a new curriculum this year, and I was overwhelmed by the resources. We didn't get to use the supplementary stuff as much I'd hoped simply because I wasn't thinking ahead to organize and prepare the materials. I'd like to do that for next year so I can incorporate more of that into my instruction.

Bright side- I wrote over $3000 worth of technology grants in January and February, and cannot wait to use this stuff for a FULL year next year! It has been truly wonderful!

I would love either your art or science packets! They're two areas I'm working on increasing interest in within my classroom! We don't have art at my school, so it's all on me!

I loved some of your suggestions. I am always looking for ways to stay organized. I like the library idea of having bins and labels on the front. I m thinking about how I could do this in Kindergarten. I also like the rainbow for behavior management!

I love the rainbow behavior chart. I'm most proud of taking down my stoplight chart in the middle of the year because it brought so much negativity to my class, the rainbow chart can focus on those who make good choices also! Love it!

Love your post. I actually have a classroom that has no closet at all, so it has been tricky trying to figure out storage. I have short 2-drawer file cabinets that serve as organizers and work top spaces. I also built large rolling bins that serve as storage and put a cushion on top for comfy spots to read.

This summer I have to try to find a way to organize the weekly paperwork that flows in from administration. I seem to accumulate a pile and then dive into it.

Would love the science bundle.


I am definately going to work on organizing my class library. I guess I'm getting ready to invest in baskets. I would also like to adopt the Rick Morrison behavior management system. The idea of rewarding good behavior is a great one. - I am interested in the Science Bundle :)

I am going to give students more responsibilty to manage the everyday things. I will have a homework and agenga checker, a lunch count person, take home paper passer-outer... I have also decided to rearrage my classroom library by genre in bins. I have the colored bins, but I have decided to put in all the sorting legwork over the summer. I also am going to label each book with the AR quiz # and level. This is going to take forever, but I know it will be worth it!

I'm going to be working on my differentiation in math. I want to do fewer whole-group lessons and more small group lessons.

Also, in Science, I'm going to have the kids take a more detailed science journal.

On your behavioral management chart, do you reward the students that move "up?"

I tried this system last year, but had difficulty finding the student's name and moving it, without it interrupting the flow of my teaching. Having the students move their own clips also proved to be a distraction. Perhaps I just need more practice.

Thank you for the informative post. Next year, I really want to try to implement a teaching approach called "Power Teaching". I have started this year, but it is not where I would like to be. Next year, I will fully intergrate it into all areas of my classroom, as I know that the kids really enjoy it. It is a great teaching tool. Also, my classroom library will be my summer project. I want to fully level all of the books that I have so that kids will be able to choose just right books easily. I am interested in the art pack please.

I am also going through my entire closet (it's a mess!) to get it organized and ready for next year! We just adopted enVision as well, and the kids love it!

Sylvia R.

I would be very interested in the science bundle!

Have a great day! :)

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