Your Closing-the-Classroom Checklist
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
Well, folks, depending on where you live, it is about a month or so before the school year is over. There are so many things to do before the end of the year. Where should you even begin? Start by raiding the copy room for empty paper boxes before your colleagues do. Then check out the to-do list I have compiled over the years.
Before Students Leave
Teacher-Planned Final Activities
☐ Complete final assessments in time to grade them for report cards.
☐ Finalize report cards.
☐ Collect all textbooks and books loaned out from your classroom library.
☐ Schedule a cleaning afternoon.
☐ Share end-of-the-year literature:
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go — A metaphor for reaching success despite the bumps and bruises in life by the famous Dr. Seuss.
- The Hickory Chair — This is a great book about memories by Lisa Rowe Fraustino.
☐ Plan an award ceremony. This can include any or all of the ideas below:
- Honor award ceremony with awards for perfect attendance, academic achievements, extracurricular club involvement (Science Olympiad, Lego Club, Service Squad, Safety Squad, Student Council, Drama Club, etc.)
- Mock election-style award ceremony (Most Likely to Succeed, Best Smile, Best Dressed, etc.)
- Customized Funny Award celebration designed for each particular personality in your classroom. Examples: The American Idol award for the student that is always singing in class. The Donald Trump Award for the businessman in the class. The Service With a Smile award for the kid with a positive attitude. I sometimes like to pull favorite characters from the literature we read, too. For instance, the Brian Robeson Survival Award for a student who is very resourceful (from the book Hatchet).
Read about more of my end-of-the-year celebration.
Enlisting Student Help
☐ Clean off student desks, lockers, mailboxes, cubbies, etc.
☐ File Word Wall words that are written on index cards in alphabetical order.
☐ Appraise the supplies (e.g., crayons, markers, glue, colored pencils) to see if they are worth saving.
Discard or Raffle Off
I usually hold a raffle, auction, or silent auction for the disposable items the kids would love to have as a memory. These include old posters, the leadership lighthouse prop, faded décor, the weekly class-designed mind maps, and items not needed for the following year’s theme.
☐ Worn-out supplies (e.g., dry erase markers, staplers that periodically jam, sharpeners that don’t put tips on even the dullest pencils).
☐ Old posters that have faded or don’t mesh with today's kids.
☐ Extra packets or worksheets for those elementary students that like to play school at home.
Before You Leave
Before you even start doing anything on the list below, take 20 minutes to reflect. If you don’t do it now, you probably won’t do it while you are sitting on that beach sipping an umbrella beverage. You owe it to yourself and to your profession to reflect. You can do this any way you would like. Here are some of my thoughts from last year, prompts to get you going.
☐ What were your favorite lessons that you must do next year?
☐ Which lessons were disasters that you definitely need to think about revising?
☐ Did you like your classroom management system?
☐ Did you accomplish everything you needed to?
☐ Did you teach the topics in a good order?
☐ What were some of the frustrations in your life, in your classroom, or in your building that you may have to address to make next year more enjoyable?
☐ What was your favorite moment?
☐ What did you learn about teaching this year?
☐ Did you have a good work/personal life balance?
☐ Next year I would like to do more ____.
☐ Next year I would like to do less _____.
☐ Next year I would like to try _______.
☐ Math Manipulatives.
☐ Science Supplies.
☐ Update, organize, sign.
Clean and Organize
☐ Cupboards: empty them completely and justify every item you put back in as I mention in this post.
☐ Filing cabinets.
☐ Teacher's desk.
☐ Storage room.
☐ Make a list of items that need repair for the maintenance department (leaky faucets, stained ceiling tiles, broken tiles, etc.).
I use ONE empty copy paper box to store my student files and memories. These memories include little trinkets, cards, and photos from the year. I label the outside of the box with the year and a few student names for easy identification. If it doesn’t fit in the box, then I usually get rid of it!
Be Green: Unplug Electronics
☐ Lights, plug-in air fresheners, pencil sharpeners, speakers.
☐ Shut down computers and interactive whiteboards.
☐ Cover computers, printers, interactive whiteboard, and other electronics with sheets.
☐ Cover bookshelves with newspaper or sheets.
☐ Food/dishes from the staff lounge refrigerator.
☐ Money or valuables.
☐ Books to read.
☐ Curriculum to review.
☐ Addresses/emails of parents and students in case you need to send them something.
☐ Links or passwords to important Web sites that you may want to access over the summer.
☐ Say goodbye to the office staff.
☐ Make sure they have your summer contact information.
☐ Turn in any important security keys for safekeeping.
I update my to-do list every year. What items do you think need to be added to the list?
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