If you read my last post, you know that I have to pack up every single thing I have in my classroom because I am moving to a different classroom for the next school year. It isn't really something that most teachers want to have to do...but I will say it was a great time to reflect on your materials and whether they are worthy of making the move with you or not.
I have some ideas that might help you make packing up your classroom a bit easier and hopefully more manageable.
Packing Tip #1- Use Fabric
If you are lucky enough to get to keep books or other items on bookshelves, use fabric to cover them to keep them from getting lost or dusty and dirty. You could use paper, but with fabric you are saving paper and it can be saved and used over and over. You can also go ahead and prep your beginning of the school year bulletin boards and cover them with fabric to protect them too. If you already have some of your boards up and ready, you are saving yourself huge amounts of time during the very hectic beginning of the school year. Try to get in the mindset of thinking ahead to August/September and do what you can to make things easier.
Packing Tip #2-Copying
If you know at the end of the year what resources you will be using at the beginning of the next year, you can copy those now and have them ready for the beginning of the year...welcome notes, parent letters, supply lists, etc... This is my Interactive Reader's Notebook papers. Getting them ready ahead of time would be a huge time saver.
Packing Tip #3- Clean!
While you have students in your room make use of the extra willing hands that you have and get everything scrubbed clean! Students love to help and feel accomplished when they have completed a task like this. Of course, they don't need to handle any harsh cleaners. While they wipe off desks, tables, shelves, you can be cleaning other items. I don't want to pack anything gross and dirty, so cleaning it should come first!
Packing Tip #4- Labels
Label every single box or container. No matter how tired you are or how big a hurry you are in to get out for summer! This will help you out come August/September. Use one label for the contents of the box and one label for where these things go. You will thank me later for the extra 5 seconds it takes you now to do this!
We are supposed to label everything in our rooms to help out the janitors when they put everything back in our classes. Use nice labels instead of masking tape. If the labels look nice, you can just leave them on your furniture and this will be a step you can skip the following year because all your labels are still there!
Packing Tip #5- Organize
This tip comes from the teacher who came before me in my job. She took 2 large poster boards and stapled them together along 2 sides and the bottom. On the outside, write what bulletin board themes go inside. Great way to keep all those materials together and easily know what you have inside without having to go digging around looking! So easy!
Packing Tip # 6- Maps
Draw a classroom map. We are required to have a classroom map to help the janitors get our things back into our rooms the way we would like them. Keeps teachers from moving items and scratching up the new shiny floors.
Packing Tips #7- Purge
One of the positives about moving is it forces you to take a look at what you have been holding onto. Do you really need it? Is it an item worthy of taking your time to pack it and move it to the new room? Give away all items that you are not using or have not used in a long time. Teachers are so bad about this! We hold on to things thinking we may need them at some point! If items are broken or has missing pieces, throw it out! I threw out quite a bit of paperwork and items no one will use. And it felt good!
Packing Tips #8- Lists
Keep a list inside one of your cabinets of items you need for the new school year. As you pack, you notice what you have and what you are lacking. Keeping one list in a handy location keeps you from running down all those little slips of paper that you jotted down items you needed to requisition. Keep your list up all year and add to it as you run out of things.
I hope these tips help you pack up your classroom this year, whether you have to just do end of the year packing or if you are having to move to a new room.
What tips do you have to share to make packing up a little bit easier??