Spring Cleaning — Tips for Organizing the Classroom

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Spring break has arrived, and not a moment too soon. Yes, my friends, this is what we call the home stretch. There are still a few months left of school, but now is the time that we begin to plan for the daunting task we face in May: packing up for the summer. We certainly don’t want to anxiously shove junk into our storage cabinets and have to face it in the fall, so we start preparing now. Of course, we could spend the entire spring break working in our classrooms, but we decided to choose two tasks and tackle them before we trotted out of town. In this post, we'll describe the two spring break tasks that have been most helpful to us.

 

1. Plan for the Future

Think of a simple task that you can complete now that will lighten your workload at the start of the next school year. For example, here is an awesome idea for organizing your word wall that we implemented last year.

 

We organized the words into weeks, stuffed the words into an envelope for each week, and labeled each envelope. This idea has definitely made our planning a little easier this year. All we had to do was pull a new envelope each Monday, and the words were ready to hit the wall.

 

2. Purge the Piles

It’s probably safe to say that most classrooms tend to acquire piles. Piles of paper, piles of books, piles of shoes (yes, shoes!)  — the list goes on and on.  Somewhere in those piles are a few items that we really need to keep and the rest of it, I’m sure we could live without. Prior to heading out for our spring break, we sifted through the piles. The end result? A box of gently used books that we can donate to children in need, a smaller pile of papers labeled and filed by standard, and a bag of shoes that I am returning to my closet at home. Our motto this past week was “Get rid of it.”

As you head out for your spring break, think of ways that you can make life easier on yourself come the end of the school year. Don’t take too much work home with you, and don’t spend all of your time off doing schoolwork.

 

What are some of your spring cleaning tips for the classroom?

Comments

I like this idea. It is really useful for the teachers to improve their students reading.

Thanks for the great idea...i know it works!

I create word cards with pictures [clip art] on the computer and save them in folders on my hard drive with back up on my flash drive. I do this in case the school wipes the computers over the summer. Each month/unit, I print out the word cards and pictures. Then I have my students color the pictures before we hang them. This reinforces the words in one prong of a multisensory approach and makes it a class community project. An added bonus: less paper files and many of my students request the word cards to study at home when they are taken down each month.

I also prep bulletin board pieces for the year and store in manila envelopes.

I need tips for organizing an upper elementary classroom.

LOVE the Word Wall envelopes....will be making some AFTER the break!!

I'm going to need a lot more than two tips to get my classroom organized :) Is there another article with tips

Agreed.

I did the same thing with my word walls two years ago and it has made my life easier. I also put the week number on the back of each word...great for quick filing

I put all of my science experiment materials into bags by experiment with a list of all the components needed (in case I need to replenish, find bulky materials, or get time-sensitive items). Huge time saver!

I store my word wall words similarly, but I use sandwich baggies. I have one for each letter of the alphabet. On the top part of each baggie I write the letter of the alphabet and then I list the words that are taught in the previous grade. That way, I know which ones automatically go on the wall. The other words are listed beneath a horizontal line. I never know which words I will need when since I base my selection on words the students need (I keep a list of those that I see them incorrectly read and spell and introduce those first). Thanks for sharing!

Another suggestion regarding organizing the word wall words: I have the unit/week labeled on the back of each word wall word so that sorting them at the end of the year goes quickly. During the last week of school last year, I had a group of students help me sort them all and return the words to their weekly baggies.

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