I am so excited about this upcoming series. 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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Any teacher can use this “method” for setting up their classroom, 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.
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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
Step 1: Organize at Home
I know 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.
Step 2: Layout the Classroom
To me, it makes sense to start with the “biggest” things first. Before you even start bringing boxes into your room- lay it out.
*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! I also chat with a my friend Sarah who is a Kagan trainer. We talk a bit about Cooperative Learning in this episode!
(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….)
Step 3: Organize 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 (here is how I organized by like things in my classroom).
I know that you will be tempted to skip the organizing step in favor of getting your room all cutesy-fied. I promise you we will get there! But do this first!!!!
You can organize your cabinets using these 5 tips that I put in video form just for you!
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!
Step 4: Decorate the Classroom
YAY! Now to the fun part!!! Get your Pinterest board pulled up, start working on all those projects and make your classroom 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.
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Time Management and Setting Up a Classroom
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 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!!!)
Want even more help getting your classroom all set up, organized, and prepped for the first day? Then join me on my free 3 day challenge- Prep for the First Day.
Three days. Three essential steps. A great guide for first year teachers (and hey, even veteran teachers!) to create a plan for the first day of school!
Until next time,
If you found this helpful, make sure to Pin it to your favorite teaching boards to reference later!