Summer is almost here, and you can practically hear the excitement crackling in your classroom. There’s just one thing: You have to get a whole year’s worth of teaching supplies and student work organized and put away before you can call it a year. And that can all be completely overwhelming.
Don’t despair! Try these clever hacks to get your room ship-shape so you can leave it behind for a few months. Here’s how:
Invest in Infrastructure
When you have a collection of books, art supplies, toys and games to store, it helps to have the right equipment. Invest in sturdy storage crates to hold all of your precious cargo, and consider color-coding them by category or curriculum unit. If you choose solid boxes, make sure to label them clearly so you know where to find everything when September rolls around. You can also keep construction paper neatly organized in a compartmentalized shelving unit — it will keep your paper in much better condition than stacking it.
Pack Student Portfolios
If you’re like most teachers, you’ve got stacks of student work lying around your room. Maybe it once graced a bulletin board or display case, but now it’s time to return it all to its rightful owners. For oversized artwork, workbooks and other awkwardly shaped projects, send students home with an art portfolio tote to hold it all. An accordion-style expansion folder is a more economical choice for all those standard-sized worksheets, and you can have students decorate them for one last activity to highlight all they’ve learned during the school year.
Classroom Cleaning Countdown
If packing up your classroom strikes you as kind of a downer, try turning it into part of a countdown celebration with your students. You can make your countdown as long or short as you like, but 10 days is usually plenty to get the job done without losing any excitement along the way. For a 10-day countdown, divide your classroom into 10 sections. (You could divide each of the four walls into two parts and the floor space in half, for example.) Use colorful masking tape to mark division lines and hang a big, 8 1/2″ x 11″ poster of the day’s number in each section.
As you count down the last 10 days of school, get your students involved in packing and cleaning up all the materials, posters and supplies in the corresponding section of your classroom. Many hands make light work, and adding the cleaning to a celebratory countdown will keep things fun. Best of all, your room will be ship-shape and ready for summer by the last day of school!