14 Packing Up Tips + Huge Giveaway

Good endings make for good beginnings - even in the classroom.

The amazing Elementary Entourage bloggers have been sharing their top tips for packing up your classrooms so that you can have a great ending... and a wonderful beginning in the fall!
 Just in case you missed any of those posts -  here is a brief summary and links to their tips for you.
Mrs. Plemons shares her tips on cleaning up and organizing all those learning resources - 
so everything is set for your new year!

Mrs. Daily has tips on storing your teaching resources so they survive for years!
She also has some creative ideas for gifts to your parent helpers.

Keri has tons of ideas to end the year well and get organized for the next year!
Just look at those checklists she has created!  And she is sharing them with us!
Stephanie has 2 great tips with creative ideas for you!
Kelsey has great tips for packing up!  
She has great ideas for transforming filing cabinet chaos into digital order!  and some good ideas on what to do with those bulletin boards!

Hannah preps her student binder for next year - now!
And the Friendly Teacher is being friendly and sharing her binder pages with us - for free!
Amber has 4 tips to save your sanity at this time of year.... 
and checklists!  Did I say I love checklists?!

Katie shares real life at this time of year and her 'holy grail summer tip'!
Use your cell phone to keep your 'Summer Look Out List'!
Smart and easy!

Haley shared how she uses her summer to reflect on the effectiveness of her curriculum and what changes can be made to make it more effective for her students.
She also has great ideas to inspire her students to read over the summer.
She is sharing - freebie!

Be sure to read Lauren's 4 declutter tips on getting your chaos under control!

 Laura shares her brilliant and beautiful ideas to get all those little hands helping with the end-of-the-year clean up and organizing tasks.
Be sure to check out Amy, Laura, and Lisa's 3 tips for you!

 Kim has done the work for us and made 'The Ultimate End-of-the-Year Teacher Checklist'!
Ultimate Check list and freebie!

 Amna has some great ideas to keep those students engaged to the very end - 
freeing you up to pack it up!
Be sure to get her freebie download for classmate compliments.

My tip for you - after you have followed all these great tips....
the 3 R's of Summer:

Be sure to enter the Giveaway - just imagine how sweet those cards would make summer!

Packin' Up Tips with Amna from Teach Two Reach

The end of the year is a trying time for us teachers. Kids are going bananas and let's face it, so are we. I'm here to share with you some end of the year ideas that will help you wrap up the year and keep the kids busy as well. 

First up:

If you do a money management system, or even if you don't and give students some sort of currency (tickets..etc.), this will be amazingly fun for the kids.

I love this system because it helps me clear out items I don't want to carry on with me for next year.

I like to try to put much of my left over treasure box items up for auction. Basically, students have saved money that they haven't used for other things...some have more, some have less. I lay out all the items that are going to be bid on. We go over the rules of a silent auction and students can either raise their hands or hold up an object such as a Popsicle stick when they want to bid on something.

I'll describe all the items before I begin so students can be aware of what there is and if they would like to wait out for something. Then I start with random items and depending on the quality of the item, I start the bid. For small items, it will be something like 25 cents and then go up, and prices vary for others. I usually have multiples of smaller items so I say like, "5 kids can this item." 

Then it is bidding time. I keep on increasing the price until the last kid (or kids if there is more than one of the item), standing gets it. Then we move on to other items. Some kids love to get a bunch of little things. Some kids hold on to their money for the bigger items. But I always tell them they are taking a risk holding out as well because they might not get it. Sometimes what they want gets bid on by a higher bidder, and so it doesn't go to them, so then they just bid on other things. Basically, I make sure that everyone gets something. 

End of Year Student Compliments

love using my own kids as test subjects :)

Here is a way to keep the students busy for a while so you can sneak in some packing up or cleaning out in the classroom. One of my biggest tips is to try to get little things done while students are busy. You can go through paperwork that needs to be recycled, or slowly start taking things down from the walls, or cleaning out drawers, etc. This next activity will help give you some time to do just that. 

I learned this when I was student teaching 8 years ago. I put a picture of each student in the middle of a piece of paper that has spaces to write going all around the picture. The number of spaces depends on how many students there are. 
Then, we arrange our desks so that it is easy to pass the paper to the student next to them and that the rotation can be nice and circular without students getting confused as to who gets the paper next. I give each student a person to start with (not themselves), and they write one kind or nice thing about the person in the picture. They write their name after their sentence. Different color pens look good. Then we all rotate the papers at the same time. By the end, students will have written a compliment for each other student in the class and I will make sure I leave a space for my compliment as well. 
This serves as a beautiful keepsake that students can treasure forever. 

I am attaching a link to the PDF file that has the template - it will have the place in the middle for the picture and the title. You will need to add in the bubbles to write in according to the number of students in your class. Enjoy!

I hope this year has a smooth ending for you all! Before we know it, it will be time for back to school tips. ;)

Don't forget to enter our giveaway which is ending tomorrow!

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Packing Up With The Ultimate Teacher Checklist!

The Ultimate End of the Year Checklist for Teachers

For most of you, the school year is finally wrapping up and all you can think about is a million things you have to do before you walk out the door for summer. If you're like me, you just want to stuff it all in a big closet and head to the nearest airport for a much-needed getaway to anywhere but here. Believe me, it's a terrible idea! I've tried leaving it all behind only to come back at the end of the summer to a huge mess that I'd rather throw into a big burn pile than clean up. Let's be honest, May is exhausting! From testing to paperwork to cleaning to saying those bittersweet goodbyes -it's draining - physically and emotionally.

The Ultimate End of the Year Checklist for Teachers

Motivation tends to dwindle away during this time of the year. Making a to-do list and crossing items off tend to give me a slight rush that keeps my motivation going. Surely I'm not alone here! I use an end of year checklist very similar to the one below, and I've adapted it to hopefully be more beneficial for a wider range of teachers. I know your to-do list is rapidly growing just as fast as mine is, and most teachers I know are list-makers. This list keeps me moving during those last weeks and days. I hope it helps to motivate you, as well as keep you organized as you wind down another school year. Download it now for free!

The Ultimate End of the Year Checklist for Teachers
Did I leave anything off the list? If so, add your thoughts in the comments below. I'll add them to the checklist!

Don't forget to enter our giveaway below! It ends on May 31st!

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Packin' Up tips and a Giveaway {ALL Y'all Need}

"This year, I'm going to stay organized so packing up will be a breeze!" SAID EVERY TEACHER.... 
Packing up our home away from home isn't a breeze. I sometimes feel like packing up my house would be easier. This year, I had a new challenge that I've never had before. I have no cabinets/counter tops in my classroom! EEK! Thankfully, I have a HUGE walk in closet and one storage compartment in my classroom. It was a challenge to get everything in and there was definitely some, "I'll organize in July" thoughts as I was packing up. But, here are a few tips that did help: 

1) Have monthly bins 
Throughout the year, I have kept all of my centers, teaching materials, etc... in big plastic bins. This has helped me stay organized and kept me from just throwing stuff in my closet. 
2) Don't wait until the last day to send everything home
This past week, was the last week of school for me. Everyday, I tried to send at least one or two items home with my kiddos. That way, they weren't overwhelmed on the last day of school. 
3) Have a next year notebook 
It never fails, I have light bulb moments as soon as I start to pack things up. Do yourself a favor and keep a notebook handy to write down all of those fantastic ideas. Trust me, you won't remember to write it down when you get home. By the end of the year, our teacher brains are completely overwhelmed and can't be trusted. People, I'm speaking from experience... I tried to pay for my class' doughnuts on the last day of school with a Sonic gift card! We are tired and have to write things down. 

Good luck packing up and have a wonderful summer!!!

Now, it's Giveaway time! 

Tips For Packing Up Your Classroom {with Core Inspiration}

Packing up an elementary school classroom for the summer brings a variety of emotions. While it’s exciting to gift, recycle, purge, and tidy the contents of your classroom with thoughts of a fresh new year on the horizon, its also quite a bit of work.

Rather than inefficiently working through the process before and after school, get your packin’ up done during school hours with the assistance of the most eager helpers in the world….your students. With a solid packin’ up strategy and a few helpful tools, you can make the most all those extra helping hands and be ready for summer when the last school bell rings (or pretty close to it).  

Student Portfolios

During the last days of the school year, every teacher has a moment when they think, “Maybe I should just take all this work I’ve been filing for student portfolios and send it home in the weekly folder.” Yes…so tempting. Then you realize you kept those unique art projects and written works for a reason…so your students can reflect on and celebrate the growth they’ve made this year.

Schedule a time when every student in class sorts through their personal portfolio. Make sure they have room to spread out. Give them the challenge of putting their work in chronological order and have them answer a few reflection questions along the way.

Projects and Art Work

Which of these projects are you most proud of?
What makes you proud of this project?
Which project would you like to improve?
What would you do to improve this project?
What can you do next year to make your “wall worthy” projects even more impressive than this year’s projects.

Writing Portfolio

Explain three or more skills you learned this year as a writer.
What part of writing is most challenging for you?
What part of writing comes most naturally to you?
Which writing piece are you most proud of?
Why are you proud of this piece?
Which writing piece would you like to improve?
What would you do to improve this piece?
What can you do this summer and next school year to grow as a writer?
What do you hope to learn as a writer next year?

Then, have them tuck their work inside an oversized envelope, a binder, a folder, or a box to take home and share with their family. Now your student files are empty and you can check something off your packin’ up list. Interested in prepping this quickly? Download my Editable Student Portfolio Toolkit

Tidy Up Team

Make a list of all the tidy up jobs in the classroom your students can do without teacher assistance. Take the tasks on that list and type up direct instructions for exactly how you want the job completed so you don’t have to go back and redo it. Print your instructions on cards or as a list that students can refer to any time they have a spare moment during the last two weeks of school. Watch your long list of tidy up to dos downsize dramatically.

I prefer the card approach in my second grade classroom because I always seem to have an eager helper that isn’t so detail oriented. Any jobs that aren’t completed to packin’ up standards can be placed back in the to do pocket for another helper to pick up. If you are interested in using the same approach, swing by my Teachers Pay Teachers Store for your set of Editable Tidy Up Team Cards.

Class Auction

During the process of tidying up each year, you will come across classroom resources that are outdated or not as precious as they once were. Gather those goodies up and host your very own class auction. Your students will happily take them off your hands and their parents will be thrilled with the new collection of treasures their child brings home (okay that second part probably isn’t true).

May your end of year packin’ run smoothly so you can spend a few extra moments of your afternoon enjoying the summer sun. You’re almost there! If you’ve tried any of the tips above, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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