Summer vacation is almost here!!! We are all anticipating the end of the school year! A couple of months to spend time in the sun, reading books for pleasure, going on vacation or sitting on the couch watching mindless TV. Whatever you choose to do on your summer break, you want to get to it quickly! I think we often forget all of the tasks that have to be done before we can close down our classrooms for the summer. I want to get through these tasks so quickly that I often underestimate my time or how much I need to get done. It’s almost agonizing. Like dangling a carrot in front of a horse.. JUST GIVE ME SUMMER BREAK! Here are some amazing tips to help us all wrap up the end of the school year and get through our classroom clean up quickly.
Start with taking pictures of your classroom. These pictures will be extremely beneficial next year when you go to set up your room. They will help you remember what worked well and what did not. This tip will save you boatloads of time trying to remember how to set up your room efficiently.
Going through your classroom library before you pack it all up saves you time and energy when unpacking next year. Give yourself time to inventory your books. Do you have duplicates? Do you need to discard badly damaged books or can you repair them? If they are damaged, create a list of books you want to replace. Now your books are ready for storage.
If you are moving your library bookcases with the books still on the shelves, use painters tape to keep your books from moving. Use this same procedure if you are leaving your furniture in the room for next year. This makes is easier when the custodians move your furniture to clean.
Keep materials and teaching tools organized by theme or skill. See Blog post “Efficient Organization of Material and Activities” for labeling and storage ideas. I didn’t have to pack up my classroom in boxes, but I did have to put everything away in my closet. Yes, I know I was so blessed to have an actual classroom storage closet! 😉 I use organizational labels for all of the different skills/themes and created a special spot on the shelf for each one. This makes finding what you need during the school year, so much easier!
If you are packing up your classroom to move or because you are required to, pack similar items together. Keep one box aside for essential items such as stapler & staples, scissors, tape dispenser, blank labels for labeling student materials, file folder of back to school ideas, bulletin board decor, etc. These are all things that you will need first to begin setting up your classroom.
This is also a great time to purge! Throw away anything that is trash or that you are saving just to save. If it is worth it, donate or sell it, but if you haven’t used it in a while – get rid of it!
Label shelves or bins, so items are easy to find when you return for the new school year. I had a large cubby holder that usually held the students bins. Since these bins were going to be empty for the summer, I used them to hold items I needed to access first when I returned from summer break. Most of these items were normally on top of my teacher table or on my bookshelf, so I didn’t put them in a box or in my closet. I then used painters tape to label what was in each bin or on each shelf.
Take home anything that can be washed in the dishwasher. This includes scissors, supply bins, etc. I started doing this years ago and I loved knowing that my dishwasher sanitizes all of the items. You can also put play dough tools in the dishwasher too.
Bring home any (small) rugs, pillows, or washables that can be washed in the washer. I usually brought home the dolls from my house station, as well as any doll clothes and wash them as well. Don’t forget the scent pellets or fabric softener–you will have a fresh smelling classroom when you return and set up.
Bring home any professional development books, long range plans, or pacing guides, that will aid you in planning for the next year. If you are looking for some additional professional development, check out our Summer Book Study on Making the Most of Small Groups as well as my new book study “Know Better, Do Better” for this year. (Series start 6/1/22)
Get a new planner for the new school year. I happen to love my Create 365 Happy Teacher Planner!
Make lists of everything!! I kept a list of things I needed to buy, things I wanted to buy, items I wanted to make, and things that I could prep before school starts. Keeping a notebook of to-do lists helps to make my summer and beginning of the school year go so much more smoothly! See post 5 tips for School Year Prep That You Can Do At Home.
One of my biggest tips of all, especially if you teach an older grade, is involve your students. They have been in this classroom the whole year and know where things go. Get them to help you put things away or even move things around. They will most likely love to help!
Be productive but ENJOY your summer break. It’s the only one we get. Go out in the sun, watch some TV even if there is nothing good on, go on vacation, or SLEEP IN!
I hope these tips help you this and future summer breaks! Do you have a favorite tip for summer break? Share with us on Facebook Page!