How to Pack Your Classroom to Make Next Year Easier
The end of the school year is a busy time for teachers. You are in the middle of finalizing grades, keeping your students occupied and productive, and creating end of the year fun. On top of all the chaos, you still have a classroom that needs to be organized and packed up for the summer.
Depending on your situation, you may not be packing up your classroom materials to unpack in the same physical room. Many teachers have to move rooms or are unsure of where they will be next year.
Packing your classroom can be a stressful thing to think about when you have so much else to do – and you are already exhausted. However, the beginning-of-the-school-year you will thank you for pushing through now to get ready.
Here are a few ways to help jump-start your classroom packing.
What Should I Have with Me?
When packing up a classroom, you should have the following supplies:
– cleaning supplies
– magic erasers
– Clorox wipes
– Ziploc baggies (all sizes)
– big clear containers
– ribbon, yarn, or string to tie posters
Don’t Throw Everything into Boxes!
Do yourself a favor and spend more than 30 minutes pouring everything into boxes at the end of the last day of school. Organize, clean, and prepare yourself effectively.
Pack like Items Together
I know it seems like a simple and obvious thought, but packing like items together will make unpacking so much easier. The only exception I have is to keep your desk supplies separate from your student supplies.
Pack for Your Physical Classroom
Do you know what classroom you are in next year? If it isn’t the same classroom you are in right now, scope it out, and determine where you want to place resources and materials. Then you can pack your supplies up accordingly instead of scrambling to create a classroom plan as you are unpacking.
Prepare Your First Week Papers
Kelly from The Simply Organized Teacher suggests making copies of your “Meet The Teacher” papers and your other first week of school materials. This will give you one less thing to do when you start prepping next year!
Take Pictures of Your Walls
If you’re like me, you’ve tried to rehang posters at the beginning of the year and completely forgotten how you had them the year before. Instead of racking your brain, snap a few pictures on your smartphone and keep them in a photo file for your classroom set up.
Clean as You Go
As you are putting your items away, wipe everything down. You don’t want to waste your time at the beginning of the next school year, cleaning things as you set them out in your classroom. If you are cleaning out your cupboards and shelves, give your kids some Clorox wipes and let them help you clean. They will love it, and it will provide you with some assistance.
Purge as You Go
As teachers, we tend to hoard objects for every elusive project. But honestly, will you at any point use the 50 pieces of small cardboard rectangles? An article from Scholastic suggests that if you didn’t use it this last school year, consider giving it to another teacher. Cleaning out your supplies now helps prevent clutter and will ensure your classroom is ready to go for the new school year.
Pack by Zone
Linda Kamp at Around The Kampfire suggests packing your classroom in zones. Do you have a reading center? Pack it all in one box. Have items for a computer lab? Pack it all in one box. This makes your classroom set up faster for you. Even simply using 4 big containers and putting them in each corner of your classroom would work. (This only works if you are positive you are staying in the same classroom next year).
Clean Out Your Technology
A few weeks before the end of the school year, start to clean out your computer. Go through your emails and delete what is no longer necessary (which should be most of them, right?). If you haven’t already, create a folder with the school year (i.e., 2018-2019) and place any emails you are keeping in the folder. I suggest keeping any emails sent between you and parents. If you have any emails from the previous school year, they should be deleted by now.
If you don’t have one, I suggest getting an external hard drive and backing up your computer. In Florida especially, we never know what will happen over the summer with the crazy weather (hurricane season). You don’t want to come back to school to a fried computer.
In a similar vein, before you leave your classroom for the last time, you should unplug all the electronics in your classroom, just to be safe.
First Week of School Box
As you are packing your supplies into boxes, consider creating a box for the first week of school. Put all your first-week essentials here for an easy grab and go in case of an emergency.
Clear Your Walls
The last few weeks of school are very tricky when it comes to classroom management. For tips on how to effectively manage your classroom at the end of the year, check out my last blog post. Most teachers want to see progress when it comes to their classroom packing, so they take down their posters early.
To a student, nothing says “school’s out” like empty walls. Be careful about packing the things on your walls and bulletin boards. I would suggest clearing your walls out at the last possible moment. It may be more work at the end of the day, but you will save yourself a lot of stress by continuing your classroom environment until your students leave for break.
The end of the year is inundated with a million little things you have to do. I hope this blog post helps you finish your year strong!
Have you printed out your classroom awards yet? If you’d like to save some time, I have premade awards certificates available in my store.