This post is part of our Walk This Way series, designed to share The Walking Classroom experiences of teachers and students across the United States. This post provides a glimpse into Kathie Yonemura’s class.
With summer drawing near, it’s so tempting to shove everything into boxes or cupboards and call it a day! But then we want to kick ourselves in August, when we are not ready to be back yet and we have to sort through all the things we shoved into cupboards! When you come back at the start of next year, you want to be able to find everything easily.
Sort . . . and Save Time Next Year!
Many teachers tend to be hoarders (I’ve been guilty of this. . . ) It’s time to think: Do I REALLY need these items? (Think Marie Kondo: Does this bring me joy?) The couple weeks leading up to the end of school is a great time to enlist student volunteers to help sort through all the accumulated stuff: throw out dead markers, recycle unused extra papers, donate unnecessary art supplies, put unused extra supplies back into the teacher workroom.
Be Sure to Group and Label
Group “like” items together. This will make it easier to find them when you need them again in the fall. Keep units together in magazine file boxes or in clear storage bins. Ziploc bags are perfect for storing smaller items; they can be labeled and items stored inside can be seen.
Label items as you pack up a box and tape it closed; be sure to add your name and room number so that it knows where to come back to at the end of summer! I keep my library books together by genre and label those boxes so it easy to put the library back in order in the fall.
Teachers have piles and bags of papers. Try to go paperless: throw out (recycle) extra or unused papers. Scan files, so they’re on your computer or in the cloud.
Place layout in multiple places: one on the front whiteboard and one on each desk or table, highlighting its spot on the room map. This makes it simple for custodians to put your room back together after the summer deep clean.
Prepare ahead to simplify coming back. Photocopy any beginning of the year letters or your homework policy, first day of school activities, and be sure to print labels for notebooks too. I also put my first day of school read aloud book into a box with all my prepped materials and label it “First Day” so it’s one less thing to think about.
Don’t pack up too early; after all, you don’t want to signal to students that learning is over. In fact, this is the perfect time to continue learning with The Walking Classroom! There are so many great podcasts perfect for the end of the year!
Enjoy the last days with your students. Organize as you pack up for summer, and you’ll be ready and eager to start the new school year!
Fourth Grade Teacher
Hesby Oaks Leadership Charter School