Every year, teachers take apart the contents of their classroom so that the school can be deep cleaned over the summer. It’s a huge job.
Let the kids help! This year, I’m trying to have everything packed while I still have 30 helpers. There are some very important academic lessons that can be integrated with these activities. My students love doing classroom jobs, and packing up for summer is one community-building, super fun job!
While we packed up last year, I taught my students about bucket brigades, weaving in a lesson about the history of volunteer fire departments and how towns depended on volunteers cooperating to provide a vital service in times of need. We also discussed how the military accomplished massive movements of troops and resources using the same principles we were using in our classroom. The boys really loved this topic!
Make two lists, and write them on the board. One list is for jobs everyone should do. Once these are completed, students can tackle the community service list. It’s extra fun if they get to sign the board by jobs they completed.
–Clean out their own desk
–Erase pencil marks in textbooks
–Place textbooks in designated area
–Pack up their own supplies for home
–Return classroom library books to their rightful place
–Pick up scraps under or near their desk
–Return class supplies to their proper place
–Recycle paper from their desk (or take it home)
–Organize class library
–Empty teacher’s bookshelf (workbooks, professional books)
–Organize game cabinet
–Clean the lunch bucket (we use it to carry cold lunches to the cafeteria)
–Wipe down cabinets
–Organize ____ (whatever you want organized—often the kids will do it better than you could)
–Box up supplies (as needed)
When everything is finished, clean the student desks. I recommend Oxi-Clean. Mix a little with water in a container. YOU do the first wipe down of desks, so kids don’t touch the Oxi-Clean solution. Kids come behind you with clean rags. Give the kids a clean-water bucket and ask them to rinse the rags often. The desks will be sparkling clean in 15 minutes! (Hint: you don’t need real buckets. I use plastic shoeboxes that hold supplies and organize our class library books.)
In fifteen to twenty more minutes, you and the students can Oxi-Clean chairs, countertops, and cubbies.
Cover the shelves with butcher paper to keep dust off everything. Just for fun, the kids could decorate the butcher paper. It’s a fun community-building activity… you will need these after you no longer have desks.
On the last day of school, plan fun activities that don’t involve desks. Game day is a popular option. Kids tell me they love giant Twister (using construction paper to make a class-size Twister board). I haven’t been brave enough to try it.