Last week I went into school to clean up my classroom a bit. It was in pretty good shape considering it hasn’t been used for 3 months! I have a few tips of what you can do now to prep for the fall (whatever that might look like).
- Erase all whiteboards – even if you’re going to rewrite the same things in the fall, erase it now or else it might stick.
- Use a Clorox wipe on the whiteboards for hard-to-erase parts – BUT make sure the board is FULLY dry before writing on them again. If you write on a board that has just been wiped down with a Clorox wipe, the new writing will stick even worse. I personally wipe with a Clorox wipe and then go over it again with a dry paper towel. And just be careful using Clorox wipes, I’ve heard some people say it destroys the whiteboard material but I’m not sure if this is true.
- Sharpen all pencils, discard old ones, or renew them with some eraser toppers – this is a quick one, but it’ll save you time in the beginning of the school year. And your intro lesson won’t be interrupted by the sound of a kid using the pencil sharpener!
- Organize materials for all subjects into large 3-ring binders – this one also sounds like a no-brainer, but I actually didn’t start doing this until my 3rd year teaching, lol. It might take you 10 minutes to hole-punch all the papers and order them in chronological order, but it’s worth the time. And even if you’re doing this with materials for a class you aren’t teaching again next year, it’s still really good to save the paper copies – you might teach it again or use select parts or give it to a colleague!
- Remove student name cards, artwork, folders, or materials – start fresh. If a student didn’t take their stuff home in the spring, they’re not gunna want it in the fall. If your school requires that you keep student work for 3 years (I’ve done this and we never used it….) do that, but try to minimize bulk or at least label the boxes with the date you can finally recycle the material. And a note on removing/discarding student artwork, which I learned years ago:
You can discard student work or artwork – as long as the students never see you do it.
If you think the kid might want their artwork or ask about it later, feel free to store it somewhere else and just explain you took it down to clean things for the year. You can always put it back up.