Hey Teacher Friend! It’s that time again…time to start setting up your classroom! The most exciting but also one of the most stressful times of the year! I want to help you set up your classroom in an organized way so you can spend your year focusing on what really matters- educating your kiddos!
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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.
Setting Up a Classroom
Before you do anything related to classroom organization, you need a plan in place! Well, teacher friend! Lucky for you because I am giving you your outline right here.
But, if you want the full outline + action steps and extra tips and resources then you can download the free guide, 6 Steps to Setting Up a Classroom. My free gift from me to you!
Step 1: Organize at Home
First, come into your classroom already organized. I know you have been collecting things over the summer and filling up your Amazon cart with plenty of goodies for your new classroom. (That link is my Amazon Shopping page with all of my organization recs!)
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: Clean the Classroom
Okay, I know this step is NOT fun! Posting Insta stories of cleaning cabinets and dusting shelves isn’t sure to gain much traction. But PLEASE hear me out when I say this…This part is SO important!
Just taking a quick hour to dust all shelves, wipe down all the cabinets is going to set you up for so much success! This is a great task to give to a friend or family member who lovingly came to help you get your classroom set up.
Step 3: 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.
Make sure to start with the big areas in your classroom like your student desks*, whole group teaching area, your classroom library, and small group area, and your teacher desk area. (More tips on how to do that down below. For now, you are just figuring out the areas for all of these parts of your classroom)
*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 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 4: 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 a 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 5: Set Up the Classroom
Okay, but Kelly…haven’t I been setting up the classroom this whole time???
Well, kind of.
This specific step is more about putting things on shelves, setting up your stations, and putting all the STUFF into the different areas you laid out in Step 3.
Here are some posts to help you organize different areas of your classroom.
Step 6: 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 as to say that your kid’s parents need it to.
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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!