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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

End of the Year Tips for Teachers

As most of us are winding down our days, I thought I'd go through what I've found to be helpful for me at the end of the year.

1) When you inventory your textbooks (if you have them), keep a copy for yourself and put it a folder.  Label your folder End-of-The-Year or something simple even like, Inventory.  Keeping a copy of this for yourself will help you with your inventory the following year.  If you don't let kids take books out of the classroom, chances are your book inventory will remain the same. Also, when going through your books, sort them. Keep all like books together. 

2) Don't be an out of sight, out of mind person.  That was me a few years ago.  I was SOOOO Ready for summer.  As long as my counters were cleaned off, and nothing was in my student's desks, I didn't care WHERE I shoved things.....until I came back in to prep my room for Back to School. EGADS!  Take a few minutes to put things back at the end of the year.  Make your craft supply cabinet neat, your bookshelves neat, etc.  I even try to do this at the end of every day.  As my students pack up, I tidy up the room.  It helps me keep things organized.  Seeing how I never know when I need a sub (with a 11 year old and a 6 year old---they do get sick).  If I know where everything is at, I can easily tell my sub where to find things too.

3) If you haven't used it---toss it or give it away.  Do you realize that teachers can be quite the group of hoarders/pack rats?  It's hard knowing what to pitch and what to keep.  Trust me, I still have 4th-6th grade things and I truly should give them away because LORD help me if I can keep from it, I won't go back.  Not to mention through the years I've discovered blogs and TpT.  I could get rid of that MASSIVE Rubbermaid Tote of things, and maybe help a new teacher in the way.  That's my end of the year goal---see if I follow through and hold me accountable someone, please! :)

4) As you're going through your things, consider putting them into monthly binders.  Start a binder/folder for each Month.  Place your reproducibles, craft ideas, story ideas, centers, etc. into one binder.  This will make easy prep for you for next year.

5) I have labeled my room in years past--including my filing cabinet.  I do this so that my coworkers, subs, etc. can find things in my room.  My room is kind of a you can borrow from me if you want.  I label my classroom book bins too so that everyone can find things.  When you're packing up, maybe this is something you'd want to consider.  For example, I have all of my phonics worksheets/sorts in folders.  Each folder is labeled with its own specific skill.  short vowel a, long i/silent e, digraphs, r- blends---you get the idea.  I also have Mailbox books and other teacher resources that I've purchased through the years.  I put them all in a filing cabinet drawer together.  Below that, I have all of my reading/language skills labeled in folders (main idea, cause/effect, etc) and in that drawer I have my writing resources as well.  I've done this for math, science and social studies too.  Labeling it all has also helped me REMEMBER what I do have. 

6) Let your students help out with cleaning up. They enjoy taking ownership of their classroom too.  Let them dust your bookshelves, and make sure that books are back in the proper bins.  Let them erase your boards, and pitch markers that are dried up. Have them put together puzzles and check out to see if you have pieces missing from inside recess games.
**I usually do this on one of the last two days of school.  I don't have a lot of students that show up after our Memorial Day holiday. 

7) If you have to draw a diagram of your room....take a photo of it. It helps the janitors know how to set things back up.

8) Reflect back on your year.  Think about the progress that was made with each student.  For me, it's been a challenge this year.  But when I think about the student that only knew 5 sight words at the beginning of the year, and didn't recognize letter sounds...and is now reading at the end of a first grade level...well, it really puts things back into perspective with why I do what I do! 

9) Finally, if you are super organized----start on next year.  Sometimes it's nice to have writing journals, or personal dictionaries ready to go.  Even a simple coloring sheet for them to use their brand new school supplies on is nice to have on hand.  If you make mini-offices, this would be a good time to laminate them.  Me--I'm not that organized, but I hope to get there someday! :)

Do you have any other tips or advice for teachers packing up at the end of the year.  Leave your idea in the comments! :)


  1. Great tips! I always seem to be the last one out the door, but I like to come back to organization or else there will be late nights!

  2. Great tips! I really like #3-I hate keeping things I don't use. I like to toss! I never thought to take a photo of my room for the room map. That's a great idea!
    Conversations in Literacy

  3. I love everything about your post! I made the mistake a couple of years where I just wanted to get the heck out of there for summer break! I wanted to kill my June self when I returned in August... what was I thinking, just throwing things where ever they fit! ahh! Such good advice :) I organized my files into binders a couple of years ago and I will never go back, I LOVE my binders. I also organize my books by months and put them in my filing cabinet for safe keeping and organization. That also helps my prep!

    Thanks for the tips!
    Three Cheers for First Grade!

  4. These are great tips! I need to get better at tossing things I don't use. I'm pitching things this year. I also take a pic of my room so that I can remember how I had things set up come August!

    Thanks for sharing! :)


  5. Great tips - I went to binders this year and I am so glad! I always clean up too so that August isn't terrifying for me ...

  6. Thanks for the wonderful tips, DeAnne! I'm having summer school in my room this year, so I will definitely take a picture of the room. It should make it easy for the guest teacher to make sure everything gets put back! Instead of binders, I worked REALLY hard on organizing my filing cabinet this year. I have 4 drawers: math, Language Arts, science/social studies/health/art, and monthly files. I'm hoping all this hard work will pay off next year and I'll be able to find what I need really easily! :)
    Teaching With Style

  7. I love the idea of taking a picture of the classroom for the janitors. I hate drawing a diagram! I am trying to organize and pitch some things and THINKING about making a big decision of moving from Title I Reading back to First Grade Classroom- lots of decisions to make!
    JD's Rockin' Readers

  8. Great tips! I spent last summer transferring my file folders to binders and it was the best idea ever. I now am so much more organized and use more of my resources.

    Thanks for all the other great tips too!

    Compassionate Teacher

  9. GREAT TIPS!!! I am currently in the "do I keep it/or toss it phase?" When I ask my friend, she says KEEP IT!! In my gut, I am thinking... TOSS IT!!! You just helped me make some decisions!! :) Love this post!

    A Day In First Grade


First Grade and Fabulous

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