How To Take The Headache Out Of Changing Grades

Changing grades is a HUGE job. Whether you've been through it in the past and are about to head down that road again, or it is a first-time event for you, I've got some tips and tricks to make the process a little easier.

Desk with crumpled papers and notepad reading, "How To Take The Headache Out Of Changing Grades."


When changing grades (or just changing classrooms) my number one goal is to get rid of the things I've held on to over the years and rarely used.

Get rid of:

  • outdated memos and communication from administration
  • student data that you are no longer required to save
  • old units or handouts that you haven't used in a year or more
  • cracked or broken storage containers
  • torn or crumpled posters or other decor items you won't need
  • damaged books from your classroom library
  • duplicate files or papers that you can't live without - keep one master copy 
  • old and unusable art or student supplies

Consider donating usable resources that you won't need in your new grade to a new teacher in your area.

Note: If you choose to sell or give away any resources you've purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers, be sure to carefully read the author's Terms Of Use. It is unlawful to print copies of most resources with the intent to resell hard copies or to distribute the digital files.

If you've got papers that you just can't part with, consider converting them to digital files, which take up no physical space! Check out my tips in this blog post:

Filing cabinet full of papers that says, "How Technology Can Help Tame Your Paper Obsession."

Pack Up Systematically

Pack up each section of your classroom into categorized boxes or bins and label them! This makes it easy to find the things you need when you get to your new space.

When moving your things into the new space, try to have an idea of how you'll set up the room before beginning to unpack, then unload your boxes into the general area where they'll be needed. This eliminates the extra step of having to move them around within the new room after everything has been unloaded.

Pack up each section of your classroom into categorized boxes or bins and label them!

I've got tons of other great organizational tips in this blog post:

Alarm clock on table that says, "The Best Ways To Get Organized In The Classroom."

Batch-Process Tasks

I sometimes struggle with seeing one job through to completion when faced with a huge task like moving classrooms. I pick away at one job and then get pulled away to another before completing the first. #icallitmultitasking

When you're packing and unpacking your classrooms, try not to do this! Don't bounce around from one task to another without a plan. Make yourself a to-do list and complete each item in one go.

Consider batching when:

  • sorting your classroom library
  • organizing your professional resources
  • preparing decor items and decorating your new space
  • cleaning
  • filing important papers and resources

Make yourself a to-do list and complete each item in one go.

Whether you're getting organized for changing grades or just trying to get your day-to-day tasks in order, grab yourself a free To-Do List right here:

Photograph of a classroom to-do list on a wooden surface with pens.

Get Your Library In Order

In my classroom, the library is the most important part of our space. One of my highest priorities is to teach a love of reading in my students. When changing grades, we sometimes end up starting from scratch to build this essential area. 

Grab a pile of suggestions for how to build your classroom library in this blog post:

Pile of books with text, "How to Have an Amazing Classroom Library Without Going Broke."

Get To Know The Curriculum

Once your physical classroom is ready to go, you'll need to start with your new curriculum or subject standards. Look for the "Big Ideas" and opportunities to integrate subjects into your lessons. Visit your school's teacher resource center and familiarize yourself with the resources available before the new school year begins, or as soon as you are able.

The Teachers Pay Teachers website has thousands of fantastic resources available at the click of your mouse. Don't hesitate to reach out if you need some specific suggestions!

Find A Support Network

Whether you're in a large school with an entire grade team to work with, or a tiny school where you're the only teacher of your grade, there are people out there to support you as you learn the ropes in your new classroom.

One valuable place to find inspiration and ask questions is on Facebook. My Facebook page is a place where I'm active daily and happy to collaborate with you!

Get To Know Your New Students

Before you rush out and buy all the great goodies you find on Teachers Pay Teachers, be sure to spend some time getting to know your new students. You don't need to dive into curriculum immediately. 

Learn your students' talents, strengths, needs, and interests before you begin to plan your program. Use these things to create an engaging classroom environment.

I love to use games at the beginning of the year and spend a lot of time talking with my students to get to know them.

Pile of task cards for getting to know each other.
My Back To School Scoot game is a fun way to get to know each other! 

I also send home a parent questionnaire each year so I can better understand my students from their perspective. You can grab a free copy of this in both PDF and Google Digital versions right here:

Papers on a desk that say, "Getting To Know Your child."

Don't Stress!

Finally, be sure to take care of yourself!! You're no good to anybody if you're unwell from putting too much pressure on yourself. Be sure to find time for yourself and your family and friends, and don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed or consumed by your new job.

I've shared some of my favorite ways to look after my own well-being in this blog post, written for the end of the year, but perfectly applicable to any time:

Tired teacher head down with text, "How to Dig Yourself Out of an End-Of-The-Year Rut."

Changing grades doesn't have to be overwhelming or all-consuming. Take a deep breath, start with a list, and let's rock it. I'm right there with you.

If you found this post helpful, I know you will love what I've shared in these posts as well:

School supplies with text, "What To Do On The First Day Of School."

School supplies with text, "How To Get The Most Out Of Your Planning Time."

Math activities with text, "Fun Ways To Start The School Day."

Find many more teacher organization tips and resources on this Pinterest board:

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest:

School supplies on desk with text, "How To Take The Headache Out Of Changing Grades."

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