It's that time of year we all dread. First of all, our students will be leaving us, at least for the summer, but then we must also clean, organize, and pack up our classrooms for the break. Where do you start? How do you get it all done?
The summer break requirements vary from school to school and from year to year, but there are some things that every teacher should do before they leave for the summer. And for those of you that simply hate cleaning and organizing, remember... it will make it so much easier when you return in the fall!
To make your Back to School life easier, follow these steps:
- Throw things away! My rule is simple: If I have not used in in the previous 2 years or it is now out of date, toss it in the trash (or recycle). The recycle box should also be filled with all of those extra copies you made and all of the papers you can no longer identify. As we move closer and closer to our all-digital world, we will no longer need all of those copies!
- Hand me downs are appreciated! Having a student teacher each year is a God-send when it comes to keeping your classroom clutter-free. As they head out at the end of the semester, give them a starter kit of resources. Hand off the items you no longer use or the ones you know you should move away from to update your lessons.
- Organize by unit/topic/semester. Just like you organize your closets at home into summer or winter wear, organize your classroom materials the same way. There is no reason to have out the materials you will not teach until Spring in the Fall. And, you will appreciate the extra space in your classroom once you remove all the clutter.
- Clean. I know; this is the horrible part, but it must be done. The dust will only continue to pile up and will become a cloud of regret if you do not tackle it now. So, wipe everything down with a sanitizing cleaner and leave the room smelling fresh for the Fall.
- List. This last step is the one often forgotten, but is the most important. We all have great ideas come to us at the very end, usually when it is too late to use them for the current year. But then, we forget them before the new school year begins. Write them down! Create a list on one side of the board, or use a large post it sheet to jot down your ideas as you work on packing up. You can also sketch out your classroom organization ideas onto your board to help you remember those wise ideas when you return in August or September.