Summer break is an exciting time for most teachers–you finally have some time to relax and focus on something other than teaching. But, packing up your classroom at the end of the year can be a daunting task. For help organizing your supplies over summer break, read these nine tips below that will prepare your classroom for next year and keep your classroom management stress-free.
1. Take Inventory
Before you tackle the organizing itself, it’s a good idea to take stock of everything you already have in your classroom. As you’re packing things up, write down on paper or in a computer file what you have, which will help you see what you need to get or restock before the next year starts.
2. Clean the Clutter
After an entire school year, your classroom has probably amassed some supplies you know you won’t need next year. A productive first step in organizing your classroom is to get rid of excess stuff, such as old papers, broken supplies, and anything no longer relevant to your curriculum. After decluttering, you’ll only have to organize the essentials. For more decluttering tips, check out this article from Huffington Post.
3. Cabinets, Drawers, and Containers
If you already have some sort of organizational system in your classroom, such as a file cabinet or book bins, organize it before anything else. Hopefully, your drawers and containers will still be in some sort of order, and the organizing will be minimal. If your drawers do need some major organizing, getting them out of the way early will make the whole process easier.
While you’re organizing your cabinets and containers, you’ll want to label or relabel all of them. A label maker will make this task super simple, but you can make your own with colored duct tape and a marker. Also be sure to label any chairs, tables, and other big items that belong in your room. When every teacher is organizing, it’s easy to get things mixed up, and you don’t want to be short on seats when the year starts.
5. Make a To-Do List
Every classroom and teacher is different and has different needs. So, it’s a great idea to make a list of every task you want to complete before the school year starts. Maybe you want to set up some new bookshelves, or design a new bulletin board. Having all of those goals in one place will allow you to prioritize organizing. Plus, checking off to-do items is always satisfying!
6. Keep Technology Safe
If you have technology in your classroom, such as tablets, laptops, or projectors, make a point of storing it securely over the summer. Turn off all of your devices, and keep them covered in plastic so they won’t get dusty over the next few months. Don’t forget to label your technology with your name and classroom number too–you definitely don’t want that going missing.
7. Don’t Forget the Walls
Each school’s rules regarding end-of-the-year packing differ, so if your school requires bare wall, remember to take down any posters or bulletin boards in time. If you’re allowed to keep some materials on the walls, summer is a great time to set up and decorate next year’s wall space, which will save you time when the students arrive. If you can’t set up your walls yet, even a diagram on paper will help you out later.
8. Color Code
Bindertek said, “Make finding and organizing your supplies easier with a color coding system.” Simply place colored stickers on boxes, bags, and containers that correspond to a specific purpose: For example, red stickers are for art supplies, and blue are for bulletin board materials. With color coding, you won’t need to search through piles of supplies on the first day.
9. Make an “Essentials” Box
Finally, to make your first days of the school year simple, pack an “essentials” box with everything you’ll need for a few days of teaching. Some items that might be useful are school calendars, blank name tags, pens and pencils, and copies of the first assignment. Even if you’re unable to unpack completely before the first day, you’ll still have everything you need on hand.
Classroom organization is essential to a student’s learning experience. Though it may be overwhelming, taking the time to organize your room during the summer will make your class a productive and welcoming environment that students will love learning in every day.