Thursday, May 24, 2012

Planning for the end of the school year

T-minus 9.5 days with students and counting.  I really have no idea where the school year went.  It's been crazy, it's been busy, and it's been so much fun!  Who knew I would be so sad to say good-bye to my awesome 7th graders?!  I'll admit they have grown on me, sort of like a fungus.  :)

Every year without fail my bff Linda and I are the last two teachers leaving on the last day.  We get 1.5 days to close out our classrooms, which is great for us.  Of course those days, there is no child labor option for wonderful helpful students to help us pack away our goods.  We are both bound and determined to leave on time for once, this year.  I have been working diligently over the past few weeks decluttering 20+ years of resources.  I am getting rid of anything that is not math related.

There is so much involved with packing up a classroom (as you all know).  We are lucky at my school that unless you are moving classrooms, you don't have to take every single thing off your wall and have everything packed away in boxes.  Still, when you think about everything you have out in your classroom throughout the year, there is quite a bit to pack away.

One of the best things I did a few years ago, was clear out a cabinet at the end of the year.  I then packed away all of my desk items in that cabinet.  When I come back in August to set up my room I go right to that cabinet and everything I need to start the school year is right there.  No hunting around for something you need and have no idea which box it got stuffed into at the last minute (I have been doing a massive decluttering of boxes this year and it's always easy to tell which box was the last one packed, when I was so DONE with packing that everything left just got shoved into a box so I could get the heck out of there).

I always try and make my back to school and first day copies at the end of the year so I know they are done for next year.  Usually I would make all the copies for the first two weeks of school.  This saves you from standing in line waiting at the copy machine with everyone else needing to make copies those first days back.  Next school year we are starting a brand new curriculum so I do not have any idea what copies I will need.  I am still copying my usual back to school items (ex, welcome locker signs, Core Plus intro activities, any back to school night handouts).

The most valuable thing you can do to stay organized at the end of the year and not drive yourself crazy is to make a to do list and stick to it.  Don't leave everything for the last days of school.  Start dividing up your list of what you want to accomplish every week or even every day.  I make a separate packing list because I believe that's such a huge task it needs its own list.

When making up my master packing list I start at one point in my classroom and then work around the room in order of every piece of furniture or shelf that needs to be packed away.  That way I don't forget anything that needs to be done, I can start prioritizing what I can start packing away, because it is not needed for the last coupe weeks of school.

To Do List:
*Make a list of copies you need for the first week or two of school
*Make copies
*Keep track of where you are packing away important everyday items and start packing what you can now
*Start working on checking off items from your master list NOW, you will be glad you did when the last week of school arrives and you are not overwhelmed
*Declutter anything you are able to before you pack up your room
*Students are awesome organizers!  Let them organize any cabinets that have gotten cluttered throughout the year
*Start taking down some of your extra classroom decor now (I teach middle school, I know some of you elementary teachers might prefer to not do this too early)
*Start making lists of any tasks that students can help you with and let them help.  They love it!
*Spend time organizing your digital files/email and deleting unnecessary items (I am always scrambling to do this at the very last minute)
*Keep a master to do list of what needs to be done and keep adding to it and crossing things off as they are done
*Set a basket aside with anything you need to turn in on checkout day.  That way you won't be searching high and low for a form that needs to be turned in, but has gone missing.

I can't believe that two weeks from today will be my last half day with students and two weeks from tomorrow I will be done for the year!  I know many of you are already done for the year.  Lucky you!  I also know that many of you go a few weeks longer than I do.  Unlucky you!  I will be doing a full week of training on Carnegie and Personalized Learning the week after school is out, so technically my first free day will not be until June 18th.I hope you are all enjoying your last days with your students and if you are already on summer break, I hope your first few days have been wonderful and relaxing.


  1. Hi Sherrie:
    I PRINTED this post!
    I am usually so involved in the end-of-the-year activities, I don't think about anything other than making it through the day...

    Good thoughts here. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy Almost-Summer!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. Thanks for sharing! I can't even think about packing up my two rooms at the end of the year!!
    To The Square Inch


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