Editor’s note: This is a post from regular MSTA contributor Pam Clifton’s Teaching & Learning blog. Clifton is a sixth-grade English language arts and reading teacher at West St. Francois County R-4.
The halls have cleared, final grades are entered and the excitement of the last days of school have faded. Now it’s time to get to work. What’s the fastest and most efficient way to pack up your classroom for the summer?
- Tip 1: Take a few photos of your classroom. This will help with quick setup in the fall. (If you have time to print a photo of your room, leave it on your desk. This will help custodial staff to return items to the appropriate spots after summer cleaning.) A hand-drawn map will suffice if you don’t have time to print a photo.
- Tip 2: Purge any unused items. Quickly sort through books, handouts, and magazines and newspapers. Anything that hasn’t been used in the past few years should be donated to someone who can use the resources. Make a “donate” box for quick elimination of items.
- Tip 3: Replace bulletin boards with new paper and back-to-school décor. Cover these areas with plastic drop cloths, trash bags, paper or other materials to protect your new displays from dust and damage during summer months.
- Tip 4: Pack your desk items separately from other things in the room. Label these “desk” boxes clearly for quick location in the fall.
- Tip 5: Pack anything that will be moved out of your room for summer cleaning. This includes collectibles and items on surfaces (desks, shelves, cabinets, tables, etc.). Label all boxes with painter’s tape. (This tape removes easily, leaves no residue, and you can write on it.) Be sure to write your last name on all labels. Add your room number if another teacher has the same last name.
- Tip 6: Label all items (painter’s tape and your last name). Anything that will be taken out of your room should be marked to make returning the items quick and easy for the custodial staff.
- Tip 7: Bundle and label all electronic cords. Use painter’s tape or tags to label your printer, computer, speakers, scanner, dock or other electronics to make fall setup faster and easier.
- Tip 8: Cover everything. Anything that will remain in the room throughout the summer needs to be covered with plastic drop cloths, trash bags, old sheets or other leftover materials to keep items as dust-free as possible.
- Tip 9: If time allows, make your copies. Prepare open house copies, welcome newsletter, parent or student invites, etc. This will eliminate waiting in long lines at the copier when you return to school and allow you more time to focus on working in your room, preparing lesson plans, or whatever other task is needed to complete.
- Tip 10: Make your summer shopping list. Even if you’ve submitted school requisitions, there will likely be items you still need to purchase. When back-to-school supplies are much cheaper in July and August, stock up on basic items (markers, crayons, colored pencils, erasers, Sharpies, dry erase markers, sticky tack and more).
- Tip 11: Pack an emergency tools box. Include painter’s tape, resealable bags, box cutter, trash bags, scissors, rags for cleaning and dusting, wipes, etc. Clearly label this box and store it in an easily accessible location.
- Tip 12: Write your Summer To-Do List. Whether it’s finding a new book for morning bellringers, redesigning your math wall, creating a new storage system for manipulatives, or repainting or repurposing classroom furniture, keep an ongoing list of projects that need to be completed. Pinterest and other great online sites are excellent resources to provide inspiration while also giving you the proper know-how, tips and list of materials needed to complete the project.
These 12 tips will help you hopefully work smarter and not harder so you can get your classroom packed up quicker to enjoy more of your much anticipated – and much deserved – summer vacation.