If you’re anything like me, more sunshine means more energy and more motivation to spring clean! It’s a lot of work, but getting your classroom cleaned and organized will leave you feeling rejuvenated and totally at peace when you walk out of your room in May!
I’ve put together a few ideas for you to consider as you go through your classroom. Ideas such as what to purge, what to store, and what to clean!
Today, let’s tackle things that you can purge from your classroom!
The idea here isn’t to be wasteful, but instead to be honest with yourself and realize what’s useful and what isn’t, or what just may need relocating!
Art Projects and Student Work
Look around your room and take note of the things that are student-created. Do you still have art projects hanging up of snowmen, Valentine hearts, or even Christmas?
No judgment here! 😉
It’s time for all of that to go home with your students! Or, some teachers choose to save art projects and other student work to send home altogether at the end of the year.
Either way, now is a great time to switch it out! If you need a new, spring-themed project for your bulletin boards, these count by ten flowers make great bulletin board displays!
Random Supplies and “DIY” Materials
Art supplies always seem to be a clutter culprit, as well as center materials. Teachers are innovative people, right? Only a teacher can look at a jar of peanut butter or a milk jug and think to save them for a later project! It’s brilliant! But the clutter can accumulate. Be aware of how many items you’ve saved to be used for “later” DIY projects. If you haven’t used them yet this year, it may be time to recycle.
Besides, you can get another milk jug next year, right? #itwillbeokay
Also, you’re likely to stumble upon things (such as leveled readers and library materials) that don’t need to be in your room anymore. Designate a basket for all of it and start figuring out a plan to get it all returned, such as before you leave for the day.
Momentos and Gifts
You’ve probably accumulated a ton of pictures and cards that students have given you throughout the year as well. Some teachers are okay with parting with these, but I know someday I’ll reflect on my years in the classroom and will love seeing those kinds of things.
One quick tip: Have a hanging file folder in your desk drawer for pictures and cards from your students. I’ve always called it my “Special Folder” but you can be way more creative if you want to! I usually don’t have time or space to hang up everything I get from my students, so this way, I can honestly tell my students that their special drawing or card is going somewhere special.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to keep everything. Just be sure to never throw away anything that came from a student in the school trash in case students see it. Nothing’s worse than a student discovering that the dinosaur picture they made for you ended up in your trash! 🙁
Teacher Desk, Small Groups Table, and other Workspaces
Another main area that’s important to work through is your desk and your small groups table area! There are so many past notes, lesson materials, books, half-sharpened pencils, and professional development resources that get quickly stashed and forgotten about.
Recycle any of your papers and notes that aren’t confidential or needed. If you’re crunched for time (who isn’t?), place the rest of the papers and notes into a file folder. Maybe you’ll go through it later and, well, maybe you won’t. But getting it cleaned up will help you breathe easier!
Our teachers’ lounge usually has a “dumping” area at the end of the year for all of those extra materials and books that you don’t want anymore. When I was a first-year teacher, I thought this area was a goldmine! After a few years though, I was grateful that it existed for a different reason!
One teacher’s trash is another teacher’s treasure!
Remember, you don’t have to completely trash everything that’s causing clutter in your classroom. Sometimes you just need to relocate stuff!
Check back for Part 2 of Spring Cleaning Your Classroom!