Top 10 Things to Do at School Before Summer

Back in February, it felt like spring break would never get here - let alone summer! Now that summer break is almost here, give yourself a gift and prepare your classroom for next year. I know it's hard to do anything else right now when just making it through the day feels like an achievement, but you will thank yourself at the beginning of the year.  Each day, pick one or two things to do before summer break.  It will take a few minutes each day, but it will save you so much time later!

When summer break is almost here, give yourself a gift and prepare your classroom for next year. Each day, pick one or two things to do before summer break.  It will take a few minutes each day, but it will save you so much time later!


1. Purge Resources

I know it is really difficult to let go of lessons you once loved, but you need to let go - unless you want to be the teacher who can't find anything.  I had a teammate who retired and struggled to throw anything out.  I loved her to bits, but cleaning out her room (and the team pod) was a battle.  Remember the movie Frozen and just Let It Go! Make three piles: keep, gift, and toss.  Think about these things:
  • Did you use it this year? Yes? Keep it.
  • Are you no longer teaching that subject?  Gift it. 
  • Is it for a different grade? Gift it. 
  • Did your standards change? Toss it.
  • Are you changing grades? Gift it, unless it can be used to support low or high students in your new grade.

2, Go Through Your Library

I love books. When I decided to homeschool, I had enough books that I divided them among multiple teachers! Books are so expensive that I hated to throw any of them away, but sometimes they need to be recycled. If a book is falling apart or has become yellowed, just toss it. I know some teachers keep those old yellowed books, but honestly, I wouldn't pick that book out of a library if I had other options, and your students won't either. TIP: Ask a trusted student - or former student - to do this for you.

3. Go Through Your Supplies

Even better, have students do this for you! Have students test all markers, highlighters, and pens to make sure they are working. Decide if you want to keep markers and crayons that are no longer in sets. Instead of keeping them, I would pack up loose markers and crayons in baggies and gift them to students who didn't have any at home. If you plan to keep them, decide how you want to store them.  Are your storing them by color or in multiple colors sets? Have your student helpers organize them.

4. Clean Out Your Desk

If you are like me, your desk ends up being junk drawers. Again, sort them into keep, gift, and toss. (I mean, how many thank you cards did you actually use this year? You don't need 40 if you only wrote 10.) Be harsh on this, because you know you will end up having new things at the beginning of the year. Remember that you need to have some empty space or you will have to do this all over again in the fall.

5. Recycle Extra Copies

If you didn't use your copies this year, you won't use them next year either - or you won't remember that you have them. Do yourself a favor and just recycle them now.
When summer break is almost here, give yourself a gift and prepare your classroom for next year. Each day, pick one or two things to do before summer break.  It will take a few minutes each day, but it will save you so much time later!

6. Purge Your Cupboards

I had a friend that had a huge classroom with gobs of storage space. I didn't. Instead of gifting things I didn't need or use, my cupboards were stuffed to the gills. What a mistake. My limited space was so cluttered that I struggle to find homes for things I actually needed. All I could think of was how long it took me to find things at yard sales or how much it would cost to buy them again if and when I did need them. So instead of being happy in the moment with an organized room, I was unhappy with all the clutter. If you can't part with the 40 Matchbox cars, part with 20 of them. Remember, a cluttered room leads to stress. Declutter = Destress - do it for yourself.

7. Make Copies for Back to School

I know I just told you to toss copies, but now you will make copies you know you will need for Back to School. If you have a few Icebreakers that you always use, copy them now. If you are not changing any of your classroom routines and rules, copy your parent information letter. The copier is also packed with every teacher during Back to School, so save yourself time by making copies now while the copier isn't as busy.

8. Get Rid of All Food

 Bugs were a common problem in every school I worked. Make sure you do not leave any food in your classroom over the summer. Eat it, take it home, toss it, but don't leave it at school.

9. Make a Supply List

I think a lot of teachers have a school supply obsession, myself included. However, your teacher salary doesn't go far enough to buy things you don't need. Before leaving for break, make a list of needed supplies. This will help you stick to your list during back to school sales.

10. Make a Professional Development List

This last item is optional, but I know very few teachers that don't do some professional development over summer. However, you still need to take a break. Take the time to decide which topic you want to study over the summer. Changing more than one or two things at a time is really hard. If you focus on one item, you won't feel overwhelmed with too many changes. If you writing centers just didn't work well this year, focus on that. If you need help integrating more hands-on science, read about that. You will feel better prepared and less stressed by choosing your focus topic, because you will have plenty of time to focus on your topic and still do other things.

Remember, the goal is to spend a little time now in order to save a lot of time over the summer and during Back to School. Do you have another time-saving tip for the end of the year? I'd love to know what you do!

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