Are you a teacher who does the final countdown? If you are, then let the countdown begin! If not, no worries at all...I was never that teacher either, and the last day still fell upon us like it always does. This year the last day is going to be bittersweet because you are going to look back on all that you accomplished and see the impact you made on your students. You may experience an overwhelming feeling inside like when you go the extra mile during a hard workout. What’s going to help you feel even better, is having your classroom in good shape for next school year. How? Well, we’re here to tell you in just 6 simple steps how to prepare for next school year and save plenty of time.
Inventory of Classroom Supplies
Take time during these next few weeks to complete an inventory of your classroom supplies. Some supplies your school will probably provide, but others you may need to purchase yourself over the summer. By taking an inventory, you will have this “go-to” list to rely on to help you not overspend which can happen so easily when those back-to-school supplies go on display in July.
Be sure to inventory your classroom library as well. If books were damaged beyond repair or are missing pages, then it will be good to keep an eye out when you see garage sales or book sales online. Also, be sure to be mindful of growing a library that appeals to all cultures in your classroom.
Bulletin Boards - Start Now For Next Year
Check with your administration to see what type of work is being done in the building. If it is possible, then during the last week of school start putting up your “Welcome Back” decor on your bulletin boards. When you come back into your classroom in August, you will feel like half of your work is already done.
Also, don’t be afraid to leave some bulletin boards empty. You can always have students add their work during the first couple of weeks of school to brighten up the space. Students love showing off their accomplishments and this will save you plenty of time.
End of the Year Spring Cleaning
It may seem rather crazy to clean materials and manipulatives right now because they are just going to be staying in a locker all summer, but think of the time you’ll save. Right now, you have students that are always ready and available to help so use them to your advantage. Assign each pair of students a part of the classroom to clean either with water and a rag or disinfecting wipes and let them scrub-a-dub.
Yes, you will have to wipe everything down again in August, but during these Covid times, we can never be too clean. With any luck, the bulk of the dust will be wiped away so it should be just a quick clean.
While students are cleaning their assigned areas of the classroom, you can take this time to clean out your desk. Any notepads or trinkets you find in there, you might want to hold a little raffle at the end of the day for students to claim a new treasure. They’ll love their prizes and you’ll love that you didn’t have to throw them away. Trust me, all teachers love that feeling when their trash can become another person’s treasure.
Please don’t skip this step. Have your students clean out their desks taking home everything but their essential materials. As they wash down their desks, have them be sure to get rid of all the pencil and crayon markings as well as any tiny scraps that they find inside their desks. Worse case, your floor has plenty of scraps on it, but those can be swept up by a student sweeper in no time.
Once students feel their desks are cleaned well enough, then you want to walk over and inspect each one. You would be AMAZED at how many things students will leave behind. Again, come August, you will be so grateful for the spic-n-span of your desks and that your biggest task will be putting books inside.
You definitely want to take the time to go through your files. Go through your student files and decide what would be helpful to share with the students’ teachers next year. Go through your resource files and purge anything that you didn’t find useful. If you have a bin full of extra copies from throughout the year, then take the time to file them where they belong.
Organizing files can take a bit of time, so this might be a task that you work on throughout the month of May. Tackle it in small chunks and before you know it you’ll be all organized. Beyond that, you will feel A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
Organize Your Teacher Locker
You know that locker that when you don't know where to put something, it ends up in your teacher locker? Well, it is ALWAYS a good idea to take EVERYTHING out and organize it at the end of the year. Decide if you need bins, bags, or folders to store your items more easily. Be sure to make the things you use the most easily accessible so you don’t have to hassle next year.
Don’t be afraid to part with the items you haven’t used. If you don’t think students or other teachers will want it, then simply throw it away. If you’re like most teachers, then you may need to hear that again: “It’s okay to throw things away!” Think of it as cleaning out your closet every season. You more than likely purge or donate the clothes you don’t wear, so be sure to do the same with your school materials.
So there you have it. Those are our 6 end of the year teacher hacks that will save you HOURS when you return to school in the fall: 1) Inventory of Classroom Supplies, 2) Bulletin Boards - Start Now For Next Year, 3) End of the Year Spring Cleaning, 4) Desk Inspection, 5) File Organization, 6) Organize Your Teacher Locker
Please be sure to reach out to us if you can think of anything that you may need. Our mission is to save you time and energy and this time of year those can both be at breaking points. Be sure to catch the blog from last week when we shared “End of the Year” activities that you can do with your class. You’ve got this!
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