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May 14, 2012

Your Closing-the-Classroom Checklist

By Brent Vasicek
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    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

    Final Teacher 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. This story by Dr. Seuss is a metaphor for finding success despite the bumps and bruises in life.

    The Hickory Chair. This excellent book by Lisa Rowe Fraustino is about memories.

    Awards Ceremony

    • Honor award ceremony. Give awards for perfect attendance, academic achievements, and extracurricular club involvement.
    • Superlatives award ceremony, decided by mock-election. Awards include Most Likely to Succeed, Best Smile, Best Dressed, etc.
    • Funny Awards, with awards customized for each personality in your classroom. Examples include: The American Idol award, for the student that is always singing in class; the Warren Buffet Award, for the businessman in the class; and 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, from the book Hatchet, for a student who is very resourceful.

    One helpful tool for this activity is SurveyMonkey. Through this site you can design simple surveys to allow students to vote on classroom awards. For an example, you can see one of my surveys

    Read about more of my end-of-the-year celebration.

    Student Assisted Tasks

    • 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 might like to have. These include decorations, the weekly class-designed mind maps, and any items not needed for next year’s theme. Also:

    • Lightly-used supplies that won't survive another year in the classroom
    • 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

    Reflect 

    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, to use as prompts.

    • What were your favorite lessons that you must do next year?
    • Which lessons were disasters that you definitely need to think about reworking?
    • 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 _______. 

    Inventory

    • Textbooks
    • Math manipulatives
    • Science supplies

    Permanent Records

    • 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!

    Electronics

    • Unplug lights, pencil sharpeners, speakers.
    • Shut down computers and interactive whiteboards.

    Cover

    • Cover computers, printers, the interactive whiteboard, and other electronics with sheets.
    • Cover bookshelves with newspaper or sheets.

    Take Home

    • Plants
    • Animals
    • 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 web sites that you may want to access over the summer

    Goodbye

    • Say goodbye to the office staff.
    • Make sure the office has 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?

    Finish strong,

    Brent

     

     

    2i2 is a trademark of Mr. Vasicek.

    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

    Final Teacher 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. This story by Dr. Seuss is a metaphor for finding success despite the bumps and bruises in life.

    The Hickory Chair. This excellent book by Lisa Rowe Fraustino is about memories.

    Awards Ceremony

    • Honor award ceremony. Give awards for perfect attendance, academic achievements, and extracurricular club involvement.
    • Superlatives award ceremony, decided by mock-election. Awards include Most Likely to Succeed, Best Smile, Best Dressed, etc.
    • Funny Awards, with awards customized for each personality in your classroom. Examples include: The American Idol award, for the student that is always singing in class; the Warren Buffet Award, for the businessman in the class; and 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, from the book Hatchet, for a student who is very resourceful.

    One helpful tool for this activity is SurveyMonkey. Through this site you can design simple surveys to allow students to vote on classroom awards. For an example, you can see one of my surveys

    Read about more of my end-of-the-year celebration.

    Student Assisted Tasks

    • 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 might like to have. These include decorations, the weekly class-designed mind maps, and any items not needed for next year’s theme. Also:

    • Lightly-used supplies that won't survive another year in the classroom
    • 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

    Reflect 

    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, to use as prompts.

    • What were your favorite lessons that you must do next year?
    • Which lessons were disasters that you definitely need to think about reworking?
    • 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 _______. 

    Inventory

    • Textbooks
    • Math manipulatives
    • Science supplies

    Permanent Records

    • 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!

    Electronics

    • Unplug lights, pencil sharpeners, speakers.
    • Shut down computers and interactive whiteboards.

    Cover

    • Cover computers, printers, the interactive whiteboard, and other electronics with sheets.
    • Cover bookshelves with newspaper or sheets.

    Take Home

    • Plants
    • Animals
    • 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 web sites that you may want to access over the summer

    Goodbye

    • Say goodbye to the office staff.
    • Make sure the office has 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?

    Finish strong,

    Brent

     

     

    2i2 is a trademark of Mr. Vasicek.

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