Monday, May 7, 2012

Packing Up the Classroom

It will soon be time to pack up my classroom, if you count 29 more school days as soon. I do! Over the summer, everything in our classroom is moved out into the hallway because they strip and wax our classroom floors.  This means everything in the room needs to be boxed or stored.  This year, we have a new principal so I'm not sure what he will require us to do.  It still has me thinking about how long it takes to pack my classroom each year.  I thought I would pass on some ideas that have worked for me.  Some tips are for packing the room with an eye towards preparing ahead for September.  If you are an experienced teacher, I am sure you know most or all of these tips.  How helpful they are will also depend on how packed up your room needs to be at the end of the year.  I envy those teachers that don't have to box up every little thing!


So, in no particular order, here are ten tips for packing up your classroom:

1. Before you pack up anything, take a picture of your room from different angles.  Each year, I either draw a map or take pictures of my room and staple it to my bulletin board.  I leave a nice note for the custodians asking them to please put my furniture back according to the map/pictures if they can.  I then kindly thank them and tell them I hope they have a great summer.  In the past fourteen years, I think only once has my room not been put back in perfect order.  I would also suggest taking pictures of the different areas in your room so that you can see how you had it organized.  Maybe I'm just getting old, but there have been many times where I think, "How in the world did this fit in there?"  Having pictures helps!

2.  Put all your desk things in one box labeled "DESK."  It makes putting your desk back together much easier and is really the first thing you should do when you get back. I know before I even walk in my classroom, there are a million and one papers waiting for me in the office.  When I set up my desk first, I have a place to put all those papers.  I also always make sure I put a dollar store box opener in this box.  Then when I come back to set up for September, I am not scrambling to find something to open all my supply boxes that were delivered over the summer.

3.  Copy all your first week papers before you leave for the summer.  It's really nice to have those back-to-school activities ready to go.  It's even nicer to not have to fight for time at the copier as all the other teachers are copying right before school starts.  Then, store them in a file you know you will find in September!  A couple of times I have completely forgotten I did this at the end of the year and recopied it all again in September.  Yeah, not so much of a time saver that way!  Now, I stick a note in my "DESK" box to remind me.

4.  I saw this on a blog somewhere but can't remember where.  The teacher had a lot of book shelves full of books, some shelves that didn't have backs.  I have a few like that and it's always a pain to box up all those books.  This teacher went to Costco and purchased the big roll of plastic wrap.  She just wrapped her shelves in the plastic wrap!  Genius!  You don't have to worry about books falling out when the shelves get moved, and there's nothing to set up when you come back for the following year.  Just cut off the plastic wrap, and you are good to go.

5.  I used to shelve my text books by subject.  All the math books on the shelf, then all the science books, all the social studies books and so on.   My textbooks are all numbered and given to the student who has that number.  The year before last, I shelved the books in sets by number instead of subject.  So, my student who is #1 brought me all their textbooks and I put them on the shelf together as a set.  Then, I collected student #2's books, then 3, you get the idea.  In September, when it came time to pass out the books, I was able to do it all in one shot.  It was a real time saver.

6.  Organize your class library before you leave.  Even though this is a job in my classroom, our class library does get out of order to some degree.  This is a great activity for your friends at the end of the year.  I take all the baskets out and we put them on their desks.  Each friend has to make sure the books in the baskets match the genre or guided reading level before they can put it back on the shelf. While they do this, I have them keep an index card and write down any titles they haven't read yet but would like to.   It organizes my library, and it gives my friends a head start on some summer reading suggestions.

7.   Do your September bulletin boards now!  I have my Back to School bulletin boards done before I leave in June.  I use fadless bulletin board paper, so unless I need to change the background it's a quick change up.  This year I will be changing all the backing paper, put up some new borders and any bulletin board headers or decorations I want up in September.  To keep it all clean and intact from the custodians that clean the room over the summer, I cover each bulletin board with plastic tablecloths from the dollar store.  Then in September, it's just a quick job to pull off the plastic, and my boards are done and ready to go.

8.  If you didn't use it this year, seriously consider getting rid of it or passing it on to another teacher.  I am so guilty of not doing this, but have gotten better about it the past few years.  I had things like odd math manipulatives I never used, some weird writing paper that wasn't good for my friends, and a bunch of classroom decoration that I just never used or used at a younger grade level.  Since I couldn't stand throwing out a lot of it, I put it in the teachers' lounge on a table with a sign that said, "FREE!"  It was all gone within the day!  Less clutter for me and hopefully helpful to someone else.

9.  Painter's Tape is your friend!  We have to label all the furniture in our room.  For years I used regular masking tape which just seemed to bake on over the summer and was a monster to take off.  I've started using that blue painter's tape, and it's been great.  I just put a strip on any furniture that needs to be labeled and use a Sharpie to write my name and room number on it.  Come September, it just peels right off with no sticky residue.  I actually use painter's tape during the school year for  different things.  This year I used it to make a huge number line on the floor of our classroom when I was teaching addition and subtraction of positive and negative integers.  My friends were able to actually stand on it and solve problems by moving their bodies up and down the number line. 

10.   Enlist the help of your friends! They can do a lot more than just clean up the class library.   If you are planning to reorganize your desk arrangement for next year, have them do it now before they go.  It's much easier for them to each move one desk than for you to move a whole class.  I also give mine odd jobs such as sharpening all the colored pencils for next year, weeding out our magic marker bucket to get rid of all the dry markers, and going through the crayon baskets to get rid of bits and pieces.  I then have them refill these containers with new supplies for the next year. 

(EDIT:  I should mention that this post led to my being interviewed by Scholastic magazine, along with some other great teacher, on an article all about packing up your classroom for the summer.  If you would like to read the article, you can click HERE.  It has even more great ideas by other teachers!)

If you teach younger kids, or even older, there's a fun book you can read before enlisting the help of your friends in packing the room.  It is called Mrs. McBloom, Clean Up Your Classroom! by Kelly DiPucchio.
It is really cute.  Mrs. McBloom has been teaching for 50 years, and not once in all those years has she ever cleaned up her classroom.  Now that she is retiring, she has to clean that room.  It's very funny to see all the things the kids come across as they help her clean the room at the end of the year.  I should note that, if you click on the link for the book, for some reason the summary of the book at Amazon is for a totally different book.  The summary they have is completely wrong!  You can scroll down and see the reviews from other sources.  They are on the actual book.

Well, those were the tips I could think of off the top of my head.  I hope you found them somewhat helpful.   If you have any tips that work for you, please feel free to post them in the comments.  I would love to hear them!

37 comments:

  1. Thanks for your tips! We have to close up our bookcases and I tape on paper...I am going to try the plactic wrap...GENIUS!!

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    Replies
    1. hi nancy!
      i am writing an article on this subject for Scholastic's Instructor magazine. I would love to interview you. Can you please reach out to me at juliamartinlangan@verizon.net? I can't seem to reach you through "contact me"--the email address keeps bouncing back.
      thanks so much,
      julia

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  2. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I am a first year teacher and the idea of packing up my classroom is a daunting one. I would have never thought about putting up a bulletin board before leaving…great idea!

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  3. I am just finishing my 4th year of teaching and I am moving classrooms AGAIN next year! 5 years and 5 classrooms for this girl! I am getting pretty good at moving...but your tips are fantastic! I love the idea of having EVERYTHING ready for the first week of school before I leave! Thanks :)

    ThirdGradeIsAHoot

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing - I am in the process of helping my building do the same thing. Hope to share some of your thoughts on my new blog - stop by!

    The Dis-Organized Educator

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  5. Very informative! Thanks so much!

    Come visit me at

    totallyterrificteachingtools.blogspot.com

    Lohren Nolan

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  6. I use old bulletin board paper and tape it to the front of the bookshelves. Then I write my name and room on the paper. I am moving completely out of my school and out of state this year. Packing up seven years of accumulated materials plus an apartment is overwhelming me!

    Cindy@primaryreadingparty.blogspot.com

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  7. Thank you!! As a first year teacher and also leaving one whole week early, some of these tips really help! :)

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  8. Instead of using fadeless bulletin board paper, use FABRIC! I have used the same pieces of fabric for over 10 years. I just take it down and wash it at the end of the year and put my back to school bulletin board up and cover it with bulletin board paper over the summer. It is really easy!

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    Replies
    1. Great idea, I did that for my first year then I started using cheap twin size flat sheets! and the best part is that it's already fire retardant...so you don't have to spray that stuff like we do at our schools!

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    2. I love the fabric idea, too! ashields36, we don't have to spray anything to make things fire retardant. I have never heard of that before! What is a pain is that our fire marshal won't let us hang anything from the ceiling. He considers it a fire hazard. So much wasted display space!!!!

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  9. I appreciate all of your ideas. One thing I would like to share is that I buy solid primary colors in the yardage necessary to cover my bulletin boards. It never fades and stays bright and fresh all year. When I want a change, I simply pull it down, toss it in the washer and dryer, and fold and store for the next time. Lasts for years!

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  10. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas. I've been teaching for 15 years but you gave me some ideas I had never thought about doing:)

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  11. Even though I've been teaching, I am SO glad I saw this! I am ready to get started on next year, but I need to focus on packing things away. Thanks for the ideas!

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  12. I am SO in this mode with only 6 days left. I have got everything ready to go in the hallway and on the door already laminated. All I will have to add is the students names. I also already have all copies completed.

    Another suggestion we do at our school is make grade-level supply list and give to the local Walmart. They put all the lists out with their back-to-school sales. This way, students buy what is on the list and not a lot of unwanted items!

    I'm your newest follower. :-)

    Cynthia
    2nd Grade Pad

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  13. Instead of fade less paper I bought fabric for my bulletin boards and then have been up for 9 years. One board is red and the other is blue I teach civics so those two colors are perfect with all of my themes.

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  14. Thanks for your tips! I love the painter's tape idea and will use it!

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  15. Thank you so much for the advice. As a first year teacher, I'm discovering that May is CRAZY. This will help me so much!

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  16. Check your contract. You may only be responsible for packing up the things that actually belong to you personally. Our county is responsible for packing and moving school owned items for cleaning or even if a teacher is required to move classrooms. You will save money, time and your back!

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  17. I COMPLETELY identify!! I teach in a year round school, meaning that there are literally not enough classrooms for all of our sweet students! I have moved in and out of my classroom and into a new one 10 times this school year! I definitely agree that pruning down on unnecessary supplies is a must, and my hot glue gun in my best friend for quick and easy decorating! Thanks for sharing!

    Ellen
    Great {First Grade} Expectations

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  18. When I had metal bookshelves that had backs, I used old fitted sheets to keep them dust-free. Super easy and it worked for stationary shelves and ones that got moved into the hall. The elastic also made it easy if I needed to get something over the summer.

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  19. Thanks so much for all the WONDERFUL tips... these are brilliant!!!

    Jess

    mrsjwalk.blogspot.com

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  20. Great tips- I felts if I was reading my own writing. I did a lot of his when I taught third. The kids love to help prepare for the next years group. Love the plastic wrap of shelves idea.

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  21. LovE ALLL your wonderful ideas!!! Unfortunately, I can't set up my bulletin boards in June because we usually have to completely clear the boards. One thing that I have learned (the hard way) -- is to put all of the charts, pockets, decorations, etc. in one storage box that I can see inside. This helps me to put up my boards in a snap. Another thing that I do is cover my boards with fabric. I choose a pattern that is not too "busy" and a color that won't fade too fast. Currently, I have a small yellow gingham on my boards. The staple holes and push pin holes sort of hide themselves and I don't need to change the boards as often -- Haven't changed my backgrounds in 7 years.

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  22. I use wallpaper for the backing on my bulletin boards. It is super durable and I have gotten them super cheap in really neat designs (checker board, stripes, etc).

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  23. Recycling paper is key to lightening your moving load. To keep paper from piling up during the school year, use the “two-inch rule”—file or toss paper when the pile gets bigger than two inches. Preston scans all her handouts onto her computer and tosses extra copies in the recycling bin.

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  24. Thanks you for this post. I am moving my classroom this summer and your post plus all the comments are SO HELPFUL!

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  25. I was considering contract packaging when I moved all my classroom stuff to Harrisburg, PA. I didn't do it, but it was always a valid option!

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  30. اعمال شركة تنظيف بالرياض متميزة داخل المنطقة التي تعمل بها لانها تعمل علي تقديم كل ما هو جديد في عالم النظافة لتقديم خدمة متميزة للعميل فتعامل مع شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض ستلاقي فريق من العمال لدك مختصين في اعمال نظافة الفلل وهذا يحدث ايضا مع شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض
    والتي تعمل علي نظافة الخزانات وتعقيها للقضاء علي الاوساخ والبكتريا الصغيرة التي توجد بها معكم ايضا شركة تنظيف مسابح بالرياض التي تعمل علي الصيانة والتنظيف بواسطة اثنين من الفنين المختصين في مجال المسابح واليك خدمة اساسية تلبي لك العيش في بيئة خالية من الحشرات الصغيرة من خلال قسم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض الذي يعمل علي القضاء علي جميع الحشرات المنزلية كما يوجد قسم اخر في مجال مكافحة الحشرات وهو شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض التي تقدم خدمة الوقاية والقضاء علي هذه الافات بواسطة مبيدات طبيعية

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  31. من منا لم يبحث عن ارخص شركة مكافحة حشرات بجدة كما أننا نهتم كثيراً بشفط وتنظيف البيارات ولدينا شركة تسليك مجارى بجدة أما بالنسبة لتنظيف خزانات الماء نحن لدينا شركة عزل خزانات بجدة وبالنسبة لتنظيف المنازل السكنية نحن لدينا شركة تنظيف شقق بجدة وبخصوص البلاط والرخام شركة غسيل بلاط بجدة ولدينا فى الطائف أيضاً شركة غسيل بلاط بالطائف وبمدينة مكة المكرمة شركة غسيل بلاط بمكة أما بخصوص نقل الأثاث المنزلة فنحن نمتلك نقل عفش بجدة

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  32. its very great شركة رش مبيدات بجدة الشركة الأفضل فى السعودية والتى تعتبر افضل شركة رش مبيدات بجدة نحن نضمن لكم الجودة والتوفير لاننا ارخص شركة رش مبيدات بجدة ونقوم بمساعدتك على القضاء التام على الحشرات فى شركة رش حشرات بجدة كما اننا نعمل فى مجال مكافحة الحشرات أيضا فى شركة مكافحة حشرات بجدة والتى تعتبر افضل شركة مكافحة حشرات بجدة بل وتعبر كذلك ارخص شركة مكافحة حشرات بجدة

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  33. ولأننا افضل شركة نقل عفش بالرياض فاننا تستخدم احدث وافضل طرق نقل العفش عن طريق امهر الموظفين المدربين جيدا علي كافة اعمال تحميل وتنزيل العفش وكذلك حسن ترتيبة داخل السيارات لضمان وصولة سليم تماما بالاضافة الى افضل طرق تغليف الاثاث ويشمل ذلك ( تغليف نايلون – تغليف مفرقعات – تغليف كارتون ) وذلك لضمان وصول العفش بالكامل بدون اية خدوش او كسور في بة كل هذا بالاضافة الى افضل وامهر الفنيين المدربين جيدا ً علي كافة اعمال فك العفش بكافة انواعة وكذلك فك الستائر والمطابخ
    شراء اثاث مستعمل
    شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
    نقل اثاث
    اسعار تخزين اثاث بالرياض

    ReplyDelete