As you count down the days until summer, you quickly fill your mind with the end-of-year tasks. Trying to remember everything you need to do as these final weeks fly by is dizzying. Finish your year on a high note and start your fall feeling prepared with these seven checklists. You will be thankful for starting with a clean slate and thoughtful reflection. You will be free to focus on all of the other demands a new school year brings.
To make your life even easier and to ensure you don’t miss a thing, we have all seven checklists for you to download and post in your room.
Students’ behavior markedly changes as the school year comes to a close. They exhibit a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, as the consistency they depend upon is about to change. While pep rallies, assemblies, and year-end celebrations are fun, the shift to summer is not a welcome change for everyone. In between all of the excitement, try and maintain your routine as much as possible.
Be sure to balance taking care of business while also sprinkling in some fun. Students still need to see that you have a daily plan and are not aching to jet to vacation. Look at 5 Outdoor Activities for the End of the Year for some ideas. If you haven’t established a “last week of school” set of traditions, consider this your year to start. Students have so much fun participating in making the five-day countdown memorable.
Here are some ways to wrap up the end of the year for your students:
- Make a final call and set a deadline for assignments, extra credit, and 1:1 grade checks.
- Give out any awards, appreciations, acknowledgments, honors, and other special recognitions.
- Write any letters or recommendations you plan to give to students.
- Ask students to complete reflections on their favorite projects, units, and experiences.
- Include students in a day of classroom cleaning and purging.
- Submit your grades.
It’s a rookie mistake to think you have to tackle shutting down your classroom alone! Many students love helping their teachers clean, run errands, and take on other special responsibilities outside of their regular classroom jobs. Either take one day or break your cleaning plans into a few chunks throughout the week with the help of your students. After all, it got this dirty with their help! Consult this comprehensive list of 40 end-of-the-year cleanup jobs when delegating tasks.
There will still be plenty only you can clean and purge, so use this list to help separate what you will ask students to support and what you will complete after they have left.
Clean and Purge With Students:
- Wipe down all furniture and surfaces.
- Consolidate and refill glue bottles.
- Check, sort, and cap glue sticks.
- Sharpen and store pencils and colored pencils.
- Pass papers and projects back.
- Vacuum rugs.
- Return items to teachers and run office errands.
- Clean and sort paintbrushes.
- Break down cardboard boxes.
- Take down and return students’ artwork.
- Wash palettes and water cups.
- Test and separate markers.
- Sort materials by color and/or type.
- Scrub the sink after all other washing is complete.
- Prepare bulletin boards for the fall return if allowed.
Clean and Purge by Yourself:
- Organize your paper shelves.
- Clear out your desk and drawers.
- Organize your file cabinet.
- Cover bookshelves.
- Remove as many items from the floor as possible.
- Move the remaining items to one area of your room.
- Label all boxes and furniture items still visible in your room with your name and room number.
- Hang decor you don’t want to be moved.
- Bundle any items you can’t use or no longer want and regift or dispose of them.
- Remove batteries from electronics.
- Take home wash, such as towels and aprons.
- Take home appliances like an electric kettle, microwave, and mini-fridge.
- Prepare a calendar and curriculum map for the fall return.
Purge Your Work Computer:
- Write down any passwords you will need and don’t want to forget over the summer.
- Delete unnecessary emails.
- Spend time organizing any important email information into folders and save it to a cloud or external hard drive.
Thinking about supplies is thrilling and tedious all at once. On the one hand, you get to make fun purchases and share your passion for materials with students. On the other hand, you have to organize and inventory what you have, figure out what you need, and tackle how to budget for next year on a shoestring. Check out these three articles (1, 2, and 3) for guidance on ordering.
Here are some tasks to get you started:
- Discard anything no longer useable.
- Upcycle containers for water cups.
- Organize and label your cabinets.
- Take inventory of what you have.
- Create an initial wish list.
- Update or start your Amazon Classroom Wish List.
- Start planning your fall Donor’s Choose project.
If you store a class set of computers or iPads in your classroom, take the time to examine them. You will want to know how many are in working order before and locate any devices you have lent out before your first assignment next fall.
Here are some other tech-related tasks you can check off:
- Assess all classroom computers and tablets for functionality.
- Count accessories, like headphones, styluses, mice, keyboards, chargers, etc.
- Send an all-staff email about any technology missing from your room.
- Report broken or missing equipment to your IT person.
- Dismantle, label, pack in boxes, and store any equipment.
- Wind up and store extension cords.
Your administrators will likely give you direction regarding how to check out for the end of the year. Organized administrators provide checklists, but it helps to cross your t’s and dot your i’s so that nothing gets overlooked.
Get a headstart with these items:
- Follow checkout lists as directed by your school site.
- Turn in technology, such as walkie-talkies, document cameras, and computers, as required.
- Check that you have submitted your final grades correctly.
- Ensure that you have next year’s calendar.
- Plan art-based exercises and hands-on activities for the first week of school.
- Photocopy anything you will need for the first week’s activities.
- Write appreciation notes to colleagues, custodial staff, and administrators.
- Turn in your keys.
A school is always an interesting place when the students have left—it’s empty and quiet. Take this time to self-reflect. You have accomplished so much this year! You absorbed so much information and thought about everything from behavior management to classroom setup and supplies for next year.
Spend a few minutes to synthesize your takeaways and the year as a whole. Jot down notes, create to-do lists, and keep all of those ideas bubbling to the surface before summer amnesia hits!
Try these prompts:
- Reflect on your school year’s highs and lows, as well as what worked and what didn’t.
- Review and reflect on your evaluations.
- Set goals for next year.
- Take pictures of artworks and your room.
- Take notes and sketch changes you would like to make to your classroom next year.
Don’t forget about you! Closing down your classroom and managing the needs of students at the end of the year is exhausting. Take time each day to ensure your needs are being met. Find five suggestions for doing just that here. So often, teachers put themselves last. With the doozy of a year it’s been, you deserve to fill your cup, enjoy time away from the classroom, and leave school at school.
If you need some self-care ideas, pick some of these:
- Plan getaways.
- Plan time with friends.
- Schedule doctor’s appointments.
- Treat yourself!
- Spend quality time with family.
- Schedule time for creating your own art.
Working collaboratively with your students to close down the art room will free you up to enjoy those end-of-year parties. With a bit of forethought and these checklists, you will be able to delegate tasks and outsource help to get the job done swiftly! Prepare your classroom, supplies, and thoughts for the school year ahead. It is a gift your future self will appreciate!
What is a task you always do to close out the school year?
How do you balance shutting down the art room and end-of-year celebrations?