Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Ten Tips for Tearing Down Your Classroom

Hi, friends!

I know lots of you are still working, but I am one of the lucky ones who is FINISHED!  I wrapped up my room last Friday and enjoyed the weekend by resting and visiting with some friends.  I recently had a friend at school ask me to do some organizational posts.  I thought about it and realized that I have always loved organizing and putting things in their place.  Hence, today's post is dedicated to the dreaded classroom cleanup!  Last Friday marked my 15th classroom cleanup.  I am by no means an expert, but I would like to think that I have some good tips to offer you after doing this 15 times!  Here we go with my top 10 tips for classroom cleanup/pack up!

1.  Get the supplies you need ahead of time.  

Just like any other task, prepare yourself ahead of time to make the most of the time you have to pack up your room.  Having the materials you need on hand will help your pack up go much faster.  Below is a list of items that I recommend you have readily available for your packing up adventure.
  • Gallon Ziploc bags-for bagging up games/activities
  • Clorox Wipes-for wiping things down as you go.  Hello dust bunnies!  Gross!
  • Magic Erasers-for removing the stubborn crayon marks on your containers
  • Large scrubbing brush (handheld)-for washing bins and containers
  • Dish soap-for washing bins and containers
  • Small notebook/pen-for making lists
  • Canned air-for spraying your keyboards and computers out
  • Tote bag or extra box-for transporting items home and/or to Goodwill 
  • Wheeled cart-for wheeling the stuff you don't want down to the "Free Table" in the lounge 
  • Masking or Duct Tape-for labeling furniture with your name 
  • Signs labeled with your last name and room number printed off the computer (example: "Wheeler, Room 8"-for labeling your large furniture items 
  • Large, wheeled trash can-for all the TRASH you will have!
  • External hard drive or cloud storage 

2.  Go through everything.  

While you are going through your items, keep in mind the following three categories:  keep, donate, trash.  Remember that I said to have a large cart and large trash can in your room prior to starting?  This is where they come into play.  As you are going through things, put things in their correct spots!  Ask yourself, "Do I use this regularly?"  "Have I used this in the last year?"   If you answer "No," then donate it or throw it away.  Everything you keep should have a place and purpose.  If it doesn't, get rid of it!  No shoving or piling.  No "I'll put this stuff away later."  Doing it right away ensures that your room stays tidy.  The last thing you will want to do in August is put away a pile of stuff that you should have put away in the spring!

I filled THREE of these this year.  Oops.

This was my "give away to other teachers" cart...I filled this up twice.
Here's a crate full of things that I gave away to my kids.  

Inside recess games were gone through and organized
3.  Sort through your student library.  

Go through every book in every basket in your student library prior to packing the baskets up.  Make sure all the books are in the correct basket and that they are all in there neatly and going the same direction.  Think about thinning out some baskets that have a lot of titles in them.  Give those books to kids, donate them to Goodwill, or give them to a new teacher.

4.  Create a "Back to School" bin.

This is where you'll put all those pre-prepped labels, copies, cutouts, etc...that I mention in tips #7 and #9.  Keep this BTS bin very handy, so you can grab it quickly in the fall.

5.  Clean as you go.

Yes, the custodians will (hopefully) be cleaning your rooms during the summer.  However, wiping things down as you go will make you feel better.  Use those Clorox wipes to wipe out bins.  Use your Magic Eraser to remove pencil/crayon marks from tubs.  Use your dish soap and scrub brush to scrub out bins that are extremely dirty.

6.  Make lists as you go.  

Keep a notebook and pen handy as you are packing up.  Note the supplies needed for fall (tape, magnets, Velcro, etc...).  When you come in to set your room back up in August, you'll have what you need to start right away.  Assess which containers need labels.  Note that in your notebook.  During the summer, you can get your labels ready.  I love the labels below from The First Grade Parade!  Also note what you want on your bulletin boards.  Did you have boards that you really loved this past year?  Write down/draw a sketch of what it looked like.

7.  Get ahead on your copies if possible.

Some people get completely overwhelmed with this, but I am telling you, if you spend a little time getting some copies made in the spring, you will thank yourself in August!  The copies that I am referring to are those that you know you will need regardless...think behavior calendars, desk name tags, handwriting bookscomputer login cards, data binder supplies, transportation tagsreading logs, beginning of the year assessments, Positive Notes Home, etc...You get the idea.

Transportation Tags are ready for August! 
Reading logs are ready to go for August!  

8.  Take pictures! 

Take pictures of bulletin boards that worked well for you during the school year.  Photograph the way you had specific areas organized.  This will help you remember how to set things up again in the fall.

Calendar Board 
Front Board 

My "Whole Group Classroom Rewards" fit nicely on this board! 
Fundations Trick Words Word Wall
9.  Plan and prep your "Meet the Teacher" materials.

This goes along with "getting ahead on your copies."  If possible, copy off those meet the teacher forms, Open House Supply Signs, Transportation Tags, and letters that you distribute during meet the teacher day.  I keep all of mine in a container that is labeled "Back to School--see tip #4!"  This container is the first thing I pull out when setting up my room.

Open House directions pages make putting classroom supplies away a breeze!  
Open House Signs make sorting supplies so simple for families!

10.  Enlist the help of your family/friends!

Here's Mr. Wheeler helping me tear everything down from my front board.  He is 6'7, so he comes in quite handy!  I decided to remove everything because it was over-stimulating for my kids.  I am using my Fundations Phonics alphabet above my word wall now.  I'm also hoping that this front wall will get painted this summer...lots of  chipped paint and hot glue marks.  Whoops. 

My final tip is a self-care one: TREAT YOURSELF!  You've earned a massage, manicure, or whatever else you might enjoy!  Congratulations on making it to summer break!



Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments!