Inspired Ideas
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Inspired Ideas

10 Easy Tips on Packing Up Your Classroom

By Melody Johnson, Former Teacher, Curriculum Developer, and Writer from Georgia

1: First, take pictures

Before you pack up ANYTHING, take a picture of your classroom setup. This is going to help you when you want to change furniture or items mounted on the wall. Trying to remember where everything went two months later can be a daunting task!

2: Set a schedule

When do you want to start packing, when can you pack, and when should your classroom be completely packed? Sometimes principals will give you dates on when they want your room packed up so cleaning crews can paint, clean floors and do other repairs. Plan accordingly. Put it on your calendar like you would for an appointment. This is not a task you can push off until the last minute. I have done the last minute packing and the ahead of time packing. I think you know which one is more effective. Waiting will cause you massive stress.

3: Have a packing goal by quantity

Your packing goals might be different from the teacher next door. As long as you can handle the goal you have set out for yourself, then do it. When I worked in Kindergarten when I finally figured out how to pack after being in a public school for almost five years.

4: Start returning items early

At the end of the year, some schools require that teachers return their materials sometimes to the school media center or their own book room. If you have finished using it, then go ahead and start returning them now. Think of it like this: How many other teachers are in the school? Do you really want to wait in a long line to return your items?

5: Separate what belongs to you vs. your school

Label your items and your schools items. If you ever decide to move classrooms, move schools, or even leave the profession of being a teacher altogether, and you want your things, you will not have to think — did I buy this? It is so easy to mix up your items with the school’s items after years of owning and using various resources— especially if you bought items for students — and you certainly want to make sure the next teacher is able to use it if it belongs to the school. Label your purchased items with unique labels so you know the difference between school items and your own items.

6: Ask yourself: Did you use it?

Did not use it? Don’t hoard it. I WISH someone had told me not to buy items for those “I might” lessons. The only lesson you’re going to get is: Why did I buy this and why am I now short ten dollars?

7: Number boxes and use Google Keep

Google Keep is one of my favorite apps, because I can use it on my phone and on my computer. To start, make sure you number your boxes on ALL sides (you never know if the cleaning crew has to come into your room to move boxes or furniture around into other classrooms — If the boxes are all stacked on top of each other and you cant see the number, then it can be a mystery box!) Get your student that has the best handwriting to help you number the boxes! As you work, write on a list what you will put in each numbered box so you are not trying to figure out where you packed certain items. I use the Google Keep list because it’s digital and you will not have to worry about losing this list either!

8: Find little helpers

Have your students help you — they are the best helpers! They know where things go since you taught them this skill in the beginning of the year. Have them clean and dry your bins. Trying to do everything yourself is hard, so have the kids help pitch in. This also reinforces community in the classroom.

9: Ask yourself: Do you really need It?

Yes, I know it is similar to what I am asking from #6, but if you have two of the same thing and you did not use it you need to donate it or throw it away. It will just take up more clutter for you and your students.

10: Put safety first

Don’t overload these boxes. This can possibly cause injury to you, students, or custodians moving these boxes. I know… you might be running out of boxes…you’re desperate and so is every other teacher looking for boxes. But it really will help you to move things faster when unpacking your room. (This is also why you are packing early, because there are also other teachers looking for boxes, too!) When you’re packing, make it light enough that you can move the boxes from place to place. Be safe while bending your knees when picking up boxes and do the same when putting boxes down. Also, let your students know not to climb on the boxes. If you can push boxes under a table, this will help.

BONUS TIP — Make a checklist for students

Yep, this one is just as important!



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