All through my years of teaching, my middle sister Emily, was around to help me set up my classroom. Then, in 2018 it was my opportunity to return the favor. Except… we were supposed to be moving right as the school year begun. Luckily, our move date for Germany kept getting postponed so much so that I was able to help my sister with her high school classroom setup! Finally, I was getting to repay her for the hours she put into helping me get my classroom prepared each year.
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As teachers, we put so much thought and intention into our classrooms. This is our home away from home for us and our students. An organized and well thought out classroom shows your students that you care about them and that you take pride in your job. It also makes your year a whole lot easier!
Even though all my experience is in the elementary classroom, I wanted to show you the high school classroom setup plan we used in my sister’s classroom three years ago. These steps still work no matter how short or long you have been teaching.
High School Classroom Setup Steps
There are a few simple steps you need to follow to when going through the process of a high school classroom setup. I teach a six-step method inside this free training you get when you download the How to Setup a Classroom Checklist. But there are three key things I want high school teachers to make sure they follow when they set up their classroom- layout the furniture, organize your materials and then decorate.
I know it’s tempting, especially as a new teacher, to want to focus on getting your classroom looking like you want to. But I urge you to prioritize the organization first because without a solid foundation of organization, your classroom will come tumbling down.
Step 1: Layout the Furniture
When it comes to setting up your classroom, no matter which grade you are teaching, you want to layout your furniture first. If you can, I recommend you doing this on paper first, to just an idea of the feel of your classroom layout.
Once you work out the flow of your room, then you can start moving furniture. And just know that more than likely something will look great on paper and then when you get into your room and start working with real furniture, you’ll notice it doesn’t work as well as you thought.
Think through how you will seat your students since in the high school classroom you have much bigger bodies to contend with than elementary bodies. I always advocate for cooperative learning no matter the age of the kids. (We even did this in my college classes, you really aren’t ever too old to utilize the benefits of cooperative learning).
Also, think about where your area in the room will be. I know classrooms are small and space is valuable, but I argue for teachers having a section of the room that is theirs.
Lastly, how will your kids move about the classroom? In my sister’s room, she has to leave a lot of room for moving about since she taught culinary classes when she was in this classroom.
Step 2: Get Organized
Next, you can focus on getting your materials organized. Be sure to utilize any classroom cabinets or shelves you have to their fullest potential. All of my favorite classroom organization tools are linked here inside my Amazon Shop Page.
I teach my clients to theme their cabinets as they provide a really easy way for you (or guest teachers or students) to find things when they need them. I’ve written a lot about how to theme, organize, and maintain your classroom cabinets because I believe so fully that cabinets are the backbone of your classroom.
This would also be the time to put materials out in the classroom like turn-in baskets, charging stations for students’ phones, and whatever other spaces in your room you need to provide for your students.
Step 3: Decorate
Lastly, the most fun step…decorating! I save this step for last because, as I teach inside The Organized Teacher Framework Course, your classroom is like a cake. If you don’t have the base layer of your cake, then your decoration is useless.
When you are setting up your classroom, whether it’s a high school or elementary classroom, you want to make sure you have a plan that you can follow when you get inside the classroom.
Download the free Classroom Setup Checklist to get more info on all the steps you need to set up your classroom in an organized way that will last all year long.
Until next time,