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Friday, June 1, 2012

10 Things Every Teacher Should Do At The End of the School Year

Well, I've officially been out of school a week- and I still have tons left to do in my classroom. But I know that there are still lots of people finishing up this week or in the next few weeks, so I wanted to give just a quick end-of-the-year checklist!

Note: I'm not including things like "pack up your room" or "finish permanent files" because- let's face it- your school is going to remind you to do those things, and it's a little different everywhere. These are things to hold YOURSELF accountable to!

1) Take pictures of your room before you pack anything up. Even the messy parts.

And let photos convince you to keep less 'stuff'- I had quite a few anchor charts I loved and thought about keeping- but instead, I took a photo and recycled it! (Anchor charts are more meaningful when they're created with the class, anyway!)

2) Leave yourself more time than you think you will need to get everything done. The end kind of creeps up on you! (and you don't want to stay up until 5 in the morning, like me!)

My end-of-the-year gift to students- click the photo to read more!

4) Let students help you put things away or do basic cleaning (but do check regulations on letting students use something like Lysol wipes!). 40 little hands work a lot faster than 2 big ones!

3) Clean out students' supplies gradually. Don't plan to pack up everything in one afternoon, and don't send it all home in one afternoon (it gets heavy!). You might also want to pack up the morning of that last day to avoid having to rush!

I asked Target to donate 25 bags to me at the beginning of the year and we used them to hold the supplies we didn't need in our desks all the time. They made the first day so much easier- and then at the end of the year, all the little supplies were put in the bag to keep them all together. Worked so well!

5) Although parents love to be invited and included at the end of the year, make sure you also allow some time for just you and your students to spend together. I kept our class awards 'just for our class family' and put the kids in two lines with an aisle down the middle.They got to high-five and congratulate and cheer on their friends as they walked to get awards, and it felt so special to have time just 'us'!

I used these ADORABLE free awards from Inspired in Second! Click the picture to go check them out.

6) Organize it now. Don't tell yourself you'll do it in August!

(I just organized my math manipulatives better, and now I am working on my classroom library- it desperately needs it and I know my time will fill up during back-to-school time!)

7) Make a list of the things you did this year. For me, I did this with my students (who remembered things I would've forgotten) in a timeline. This will really help my next year planning!

8) Create a one-stop resource for yourself with important computer logins and passwords. I know I have them all memorized now, but in a few months? I will probably forget them all!

9) Check your classroom supplies, and start lists! What classroom supplies do you need to buy, want to keep an eye out for, or want to request from parents next year? What things do you need to remember to do for back-to-school? What new lesson or unit ideas do you have? What projects do you plan to work on? (For me, that one's less of a list and more of a Pinterest board ;)  For me, making lists and adding to them as I think of things through the summer helps me stress less about forgetting them. I use a little notebook that I keep in my purse so it's always with me!

Click the picture to go to a tutorial on giving your mini-book a "makeover"!

10) Write thank-you notes or cards to those who have helped you through the year. I had my students help me with cards for the businesses and people that helped with our lemonade stand, as well as for parent volunteers and room moms. (This makes a GREAT last-day-of-school activity!)

I also write thank-you notes to our secretaries and custodians, usually accompanied by some sort of baked goods. It doesn't have to be much, but if your school is anything like mine... my principal is great, but our school would not RUN without the secretaries and custodians! (And I'm pretty sure our principal would agree!) If you have an aide or assistant, make sure you thank them too!

New teachers, make sure you also thank any mentors- official, assigned, or neither! I know I have a few colleagues in particular that deserve an extra thank you for helping me make it through my first year.

And don't forget thank you notes for any gifts students gave you!

If you are looking to make sure you've done EVERYTHING you should at the end of the year, check this list at Scholastic- it has some great tips from a teacher who's been doing this a lot longer than I have!


  1. Thanks for all of the great tips and reminders!! I am horrible about #6! I always say I am going to organize at the beginning of the school year & I never do. That is probably why everything is falling out of my cabinets right now!!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  2. Thanks for sharing. I love your list.

  3. Just found your darling blog and love the great ideas. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. The timeline is a great idea!

    Organize now is always the goal but working in my classroom in the heat with no a/c makes it hard!

    I hope your summer is off to a great start!

    Heather's Heart

  5. Your list is perfect. I'm pinning it to my boards. In my class I always have Thankful Thursday as one of my end of the year activities where we spend the day writing notes too. You are right the ladies in the office and the support staff make my job so much easier.


  6. Thanks for the shout out, Jenny! I really appreciate it. I used a timeline in my classroom from January - March with photos and samples of work that was completed; clearly I am not very organized as I let this one drop off the priority list pretty quickly. You've inspired me to start it up and try to keep it going again next year!

  7. Love the timeline idea, and your organized Math manipulatives! Mine are in a terrible state at present! You have inspired me!

  8. Wow! My first time reading your blog! I love all ideas! :) Our last day of school is Friday! Thanks for all the helpful tips!


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