I have one week left! The end of the year is always bittersweet for me because I love my kindies but I know they are ready to move on. (Thank goodness I get a sweet new batch of kiddos every year.) But I also get super excited because summer is my favorite time of year. Sleeping in, going to the pool with my family, freckles on my cheeks, BBQs, warm summer nights, EEP! I’m getting super excited just thinking about it.
One thing that I do not love is taking down my room at the end of the year. By the time the kids are gone, I want to be gone too! We usually come back for a WEEK at the end of the year, but our admin has taken pity on us and that week has turned into 2 days. I think this is great news but I also have to be really smart with my time and ready to check out. This is also the first year in 5 years that I won’t be moving classrooms! Yay! With that being said, I have come up with my top 5 tips for packing up your room quickly (but also making less work come August!)
Tip # 1:
Start organizing a little bit every day. By the end of the year my cabinets can look a mess. I try to stay on top of things as the year goes by, but the craziness of teaching Kindergarten can catch up with me. You know how it can get… you are cleaning up an activity but then little Johnny slips on the floor and gets hurt. No more cleaning up, straight to the nurse. So things get shoved away, crammed in and tossed around. Before school each morning take about 10-15 minutes to start tidying up. Doing a little bit of this every day will be so much better than 4 hours of it when I could be at the pool! Here is a before and after pic after only 5 minutes of tidying up…
Leave up what you can. I know every building and year is different. We share our space with a church so we don’t have the option of leaving a lot of things out over summer but we can leave some basic things up on the walls. This saves so much time in August. Even just your number line and alphabet staying up could mean saving precious minutes at the beginning of the year.
Keep bulletin board items together. There are some bulletin boards that I change often but others that are the same all year long. For example our Calendar Board and our Accountable Talk Board. I take all the items that are on that specific board, that I know I will need next year and put them in a big ziplock baggie. Then I paper clip the border I will use to the baggie and store it all together. That way when I set up that board again everything I need is right there. My teacher friend also uses fabric to cover her bulletin board which I plan to transfer over to this summer. The fabric also gets folded up and stored, and there you have it! A bulletin board in a bag! Just make sure to label the bags, yes, I found that out the hard way!
Re-use what you can! There was a time when I would take all the things that had kid names on it and just send it home the last week of school. This might have been easier at the end of the year but it made for more work and expense when the school year started. Now I take all the labels, job chart, name cards, etc and wipe of the names so I can re-use them. Here is a little secret tip! I love to label things with black sharpie but it always bothered me because it was hard to remove. Then a sweet teacher friend showed me how to easily remove permanent marker from anything that is laminated. Take a black expo marker and rub it all over what you are trying to remove. Then erase it all with a wipe board eraser and it’s gone! Just like that! Now I know you are thinking that this might take some time so that brings me right to my last and most important tip…
Have your kiddos help you! The last week of school, we spend 20 minutes each day “Getting The Room Ready For The New Kindergartners!” My “almost” first graders feels so special and important that they get to help. They love thinking back about when they first came into the classroom and how everything was ready for them. I also think that this is a great closure activity for your students as well. Think about the math here… 24 students x 20 minutes= 480 minutes of help! Yay! I have kiddos erase name tags, spray and wipe down cabinets, organize supplies, pack up the classroom library. The possibilities are endless!
Just make sure to have some great learning opportunities those last few days as well! We can’t have our littles work too hard :0)
Well there you have it! I hope these tips get you out of the classroom and laying by the pool a little quicker this year! Do you have any classroom packing tips to share? I would love to hear your ideas int he comments!