1. CLEAN. My school is an older building and dust accumulates fast. The first day into my classroom I like to clean EVERYTHING. I dust and wipe down counters. I pull out tubs and clean in and between them. Basically I try to get every surface. My custodians clean the floor and that's about it. So before I start anything else I clean. Swiffer dusters, Magic Erasers, and Clorox wipes are my best friends.
If you have tubs on top of your tables or pencil/crayon boxes those are good to clean too. The best product I've found for them are Magic Erasers. I wet them a little and wipe down the containers the students use on the tables. We all know how they get marked up with crayons and pencils as much as we tell them not to.
You can see two of my favorites here...wipes and a Swiffer duster.
2. REARRANGE. Rearrange tables or furniture (find a buddy to help, no one needs a knee brace or hurt foot on the first day of school).
3. ORGANIZE. I like to go through each shelf and area to get ready for the new school year. I have a trash can or recycle bin close and go through things. Yesterday I threw away some old literacy station pocket chart games that were tearing and haven't been used in a couple of years. That freed up a bunch of space in my tubs. It's also the time to think if your storage spots are useful and work for you. If they do not, think of how you can rearrange. We all know it's better to do it now than during the busy school year. Summer is a great time to go through your math or literacy station activities.
I had a very small area for indoor recess activities and this year my district is bringing back PLAY in kindergarten. We can have a small chunk to do play centers so I had to clean and organize an extra shelf to house new play center activities. All the blue tubs you see are new (on sale) and what was there before was reorganized to a new spot.
4. BULLETIN BOARDS. I usually save these for last because I like to think of what borders I'm using and what is going to be on each board or wall.
Other helpful tips
- STICK TO ONE TASK! I am terrible at this, but it makes for a more productive time in your classroom. Start in one spot on the task you're doing and keep at it. 4 things going at once will drive you crazy!
- MAKE A LIST. Your mind is thinking of so many back to school things, a list is a great way to remember what you need to do. I also have a list of things I need to make or buy as well.
- DON'T STRESS. Even if you do not get into your room until right before the first day of school, it's okay! The students are not going to care if the cute growth mindset posters didn't get hung up in time or that the a bulletin board is blank.
- TAKE HELP IF OFFERED. We have an amazing building aide who is up at our school a lot during the summer because she does PTO things. She always is asking people what she can do to help. I would never take her up on help in the past...but then she helped me do a bulletin board and she's amazing at it! My mom also offers to help come up and dust and clean. I gladly say yes. Even little things like that save you time that you can use on organizing or planning.
Have a great rest of the summer and enjoy getting your room together for a new school year! My system of how I work in my room over the summer may not be for everyone, but this is what works for me. Find the best way for your room and your tasks that need to be completed.