Hopefully today I can offer you some End of the School Year Tips and Tricks to help you make it to the bitter sweet end.
If you are one of those unfortunate teachers who must pack your room up as if you were moving schools- Let me just say how sorry I am for you from the bottom of my heart. I have had to move rooms 4 times in the past 20 years and it is a big fat PAIN. So, having to do it each year, I'm not sure I could handle it. In fact I know I couldn't-
Let me bird walk for a moment... Yesterday we moved our daughter home from college. Having moved far too many times in my life as a child, I thought perhaps my daughter would have automatically gained those organized Tetris packing skills from me.- NOPE When we arrived, she had stuff everywhere, most of it in bags and the rest in large piles. She was missing the main ingredient to packing-- boxes. Somehow we managed; today we made a trip to Home Depot and purchased boxes for her to sort, classify and organize all of her belongings. She won't be needing most of things she brought home until she lands a job and moves out, so in the meantime all of her stuff must be stored.
This is my amazing daughter.
Ok so now back to my Top 5 List of End of the School Year Tips and Tricks
Tip #1 LABEL, LABEL, LABEL
Label your boxes. Large Sterlite containers work wonders too. Number each box and keep a short list of what is in each box
Box #1 Desk Contents
Box #2 Teacher Tools staplers, tape, hole punchers…
This is very helpful when trying to unpack and you need something right away you will know what box to look for. You just don't have time to search 137 boxes for your staple gun and sharpie
Tip #2 Take Photos
Before packing up your room take photos of your room. Make notes of things you really liked and what didn't work for you or what you might want to change. I also suggest that you take measurements of your room, just incase you want to re-arrange for the next school year. There are free on-line classroom design tools where you can play with room arrangements once you input your classroom dimensions.
Even if you don't have to pack up your room complexity, you might be like me. I have to get stuff up off the floors. So lots of it goes on top of counters and tables. During the summer the maintenance crew comes in, usually they empty the rooms, clean the floors then do their best to put it all back. This is why pictures are important. I do leave a diagram on my white board of where the large pieces of furniture go. This helps to get it into the general vicinity. However, there are all those little odds and ends that still need to be put back into place. This is when photos are handy to have.
Tip #3 Make a Back-to-School Box
When I leave at the end of the year, I always take home a box of things I will need for the first few days of school. These usually include my Teachers Manuals, read-alouds and hopefully copies of things I send home to parents or use in class the first few days.
I also take home things I want to work on. Last year I brought home my center tubs so that I could re-organize them. A few year before that I brought home my entire classroom library for re-organization.
I also bring home any supplies I think I might need to make samples of projects.
Other items I bring home are the class scissors and table caddies. I bring these home to disinfect and wash.
Tip #4 Make Copies Ahead of Time
If you know there are lessons you will be using the first few weeks, make those copies now to avoid standing in line and wasting valuable time when you return. There are certain things I do every year with my class, so I try to get those copies made in May and put them away for when we return in August. This works out really well to my advantage, especially if I still have remaining copies left on our copy counter. I try to use them up being that they don't roll over.
Tip #5 Organize
Enlist the help of your students to organize. At the end of each year I have students help me organize our class library. Every student takes a tub and makes sure all the books are in the right container. If they aren't, then they are placed in another tub. Then once all the baskets are back on the shelf, we put all of the misplaced books back.
We also organize the kitchen area, and choice time materials, wipe things down and clean out our chair pockets.
Tip #5 Change Bulletin Boards and Borders
If you already know what you want on your boards for when students return, change them out now. Enlist the help of a parent volunteer. I always change my calendar wall on the last day. I usually give the calendar change to a few students. They love to set things up for the incoming kindergartners.
These are my top 5 end of the school year tips and tricks. I asked my Facebook friends to share their ideas with me. Many shared the same as I have above, but here are a few more...
Take pictures of how things are set up that I like and play with rearranging things that I want to change.
Put September/Beg.of year activities in front and do first month of lesson plans.
I've already started sticky noting "don't forget about..." on my binders so that I can make sure to hit up all the important stuff for next year.
Pack backwards, end of the year stuff goes to the back and all Fall, school opening item as are ready to go. Pack that way and when you unpack, everything you need is right there. It helps you have the class ready in a jiff, especially if you have a limited time to set up your room!
Sharpen pencils, fill center buckets with things for September!
I clean out papers that I won't need/have too many copies of before putting away. I also clean everything before packing it way. I would rather do it when it's cooler in June than sweltering in August!
And speaking of Facebook- have you joined my Time 4 Kindergarten Teacher Facebook Friends group. It is a great way to ask questions, share ideas and make some new kindergarten friends.
You can find us hanging out here. Come on over and share your end of the school year tips and tricks.
I hope you have found some of these ideas useful. The end of the school year can be stressful and our minds are thinking about far too many things. I know for me, I am thinking about what I want to change for next year, what my classroom will look like and how I can add some of my new classroom decor items I just received. I'll be posting about those items soon…
Hoping these tips can give you a little sanity from the craziness that occurs at the end of the school year.