The end of the school year is approaching and teachers still have so much to do. Once students have completed their end of year assessments and classes have celebrated with special parties, it’s time to say goodbye to a productive year of precious memories and head into summer.
On the last day of school, students leave their classroom and immediately begin their summer vacation. Teachers, however, still have lots to do before their summer can even begin. Not only do teachers have to store their classroom items and instructional materials safely away, but they also have last minute meetings to attend, paperwork to complete, and an endless to-do list of odds and ends before they can head out the door themselves.
Veteran teachers lucky enough to teach the same grade year after year, have developed efficient systems for closing up their classrooms. They know that the more intention and time they put into closing out the year, the easier opening up their classroom in the Fall will be.
Below are 5 time-saving classroom close up tips for an easy transition into and out of summer break.
1.Label: When using storage containers that aren’t see through or contain lots of little items, place a removable label on the outside of the container with a list of it’s contents. This helps you avoid wasting time looking through boxes trying to find items next school year.
2. Place: When placing items into cubbies, closets, and other storage areas in the classroom, place items that will be needed first in front so they can be easily accessed when needed.There is nothing worse than needing an item in the very back of storage and having to take everything out to retrieve it.
3. Sort: If you plan on keeping any lesson plans and/or student work for the next year, sort them into subject file folders, label with the appropriate month or quarter and place in a filing cabinet. When it comes time to plan for these same activities the following year, you can easily find the documents that you need.
4. Arrange: If your school cleans the floors over the summer, you might be asked to move all of your furniture to one corner of the classroom. In this case, it’s helpful to organize the heap of furniture so that large items can be retrieved first when setting up your classroom for the following year. For example, it is best to access a large table first, place it in it’s desired location, followed by placing the chairs and lastly instructional materials on top of it. This way, the table is already in place when finding the corresponding furniture items rather than finding the instructional materials first and not having anywhere to put them.
5. Clean, Count, Collect: Increase student ownership at the end of the school year to not only help you with some necessary closing up the classroom tasks but to also keep students from being bored. Some tasks include cleaning up trash in nooks and crannies, counting textbooks (if your school requires it), and collecting instructional materials so you can organize and store away appropriately. This allows you the teacher to focus on tasks that only your brain can make decisions about and leave the lighter load tasks to the kiddos.
These five tips not only ensure your classroom is closed up in a timely fashion heading into summer, but guarantee that when you return to prepare your classroom in the Fall, you can efficiently put your classroom back together.
What tips would you add for an efficient classroom close up?