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! :)