I am so excited about this upcoming series. I have gone back and forth a dozen times on what to blog about this summer, especially considering I am not at school and don’t have any “new material” coming into mind. But one of my passions is helping out teachers, specifically new teachers who are trying to figure it all out. That’s why this month I will be blogging about setting up a classroom, with first year teachers in mind!
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This week in the First Year Teacher Series we are going to talk about setting up a classroom. Any teacher can use this “method” but in a different order just because they already have a classroom versus a new teacher walking into a brand new classroom.
The goal here is to set up your room in the most productive use of your time. Whether this is your first year of teaching or your twenty-first year, there is SO much to do during this time.
Setting Up a Classroom
I thought I’d list these items in “steps.” That is what works in my brain so hopefully it translates well and makes sense to you
1.Organize things at home- I know that you have been collecting things over the summer and filling up your amazon cart with plenty of goodies for your new classroom. Do yourself a favor and organize them BEFORE you move them. Get a few boxes and put all your desk supplies in one box, all your library books in another box, classroom materials in a different box. This will help you when you get to step number three.
2. Layout the room first- To me, it makes sense to start with the “biggest” things first. So that’s why I say to layout your room first, specifically your big areas. Before you even start bringing boxes into your room- lay it out. Make sure to start with your 3 key areas (whole group area, classroom library, and small group area– these three key areas come from Debbie Diller).
Once you have those figured out, place your desks where you want them (I encourage you to set them up in groups of 4 for cooperative learning.) (Don’t know what cooperative learning is?!? Then head to this podcast episode with Dr. Kagan who shares all about it!)
(Please forgive me. I know the picture quality on these photos is quite terrible. But in all fairness, I took these with my iPhone 4 in 2012 when I had no idea I would ever be writing a blog that people actually read….)
3. Fill up your cabinets- This is when you will bring all those boxes from home that are organized and unpack them into cabinets that will be organized by like things.
Want to see more about classroom cabinet organization? I gotchu girl….
I know that you will be tempted to skip this step in favor of getting your room all cutesy-fied. I promise you we will get there! But do this first!!!! Why?? It is tempting to come straight into a new room and put every Pinterest pin into action and make your room look and feel at home (it’s important that you do that!).
But then, you spend so much time with that and all the sudden it’s then 3 hours till Meet the Teacher Night and you have seven boxes of stuff that you are going to shove in your cabinets so no one sees them. Once the school year starts I promise you, you will not have time to organize them so then it just becomes a jumbled mess that gets more and more disorganized as the year goes on.
Avoid that chaos and do this step first, and I promise it will help you in the long run!
4.Decorate your room-YAY! Now to the fun part!!! Get your Pinterest board pulled up, start working on all those projects and make your classroom look and feel like home. You need and your kids need it. I would go so far to say that your kid’s parents need it to.
I’m not sure how long you have in your classroom to set up. I have usually only had about a week before PD starts. Some of my friends have access to their classroom all summer. Pros and cons to both.
Either way, you need to be very intentional with your time and manage it well! As a teacher I have found that I am very scatter brained. I will start organizing one cabinet and need to go in that box to get out this thing but then I find that thing that goes in that cabinet and then all the sudden I’ve spent thirty minutes on the other side of the room starting a totally new project.
Don’t do that!
I’ve started setting timers. Sometimes even for just fifteen minute increments. I will organize ‘cabinet A’ until that timer is off and then I will take a break or move to a new cabinet. This is especially important to do when you are decorating because it is SO easy to get side tracked while doing that.
(I have a podcast episode on Teacher Routines to Manage Time that might be helpful as well!!!)
Looking to manage your time more efficiently? Conquer your to do list. Reach your goals. Free up more time with The Ultimate Productivity Bundle.
This bundle consists of 5 eBooks, 14 eCourses, 1 summit + 26 printables, planners & workbooks all in relation to making better use of your time! Which, as teachers, we know is a MUST!!!! There is a whole section on Time Management resources to help you manage your time (at home AND at school!) more efficiently.
You may have noticed that throughout this entire blog post have been random words bolded in blue. That’s because I have written an ebook on all of these topics! The Simply Organized Classroom is full of more information, techniques, and strategies for setting up and running a well organized classroom!
I also chat with Carrie Conover from Educators 2 Educators podcast about classroom organization!
Until next time,