Before I was a reading specialist, I loved having my own classroom to set up. It also REALLY stressed me out! Every August, my brain went “classroom setup crazy.” Including when I was trying to sleep. Ick.
But setting up your classroom doesn’t have to be stressful! It can be a whole lot of fun. If you’re setting up a new classroom this fall (or even revamping your old one), follow these 5 tips to keep your sanity and ensure that your classroom setup works for you!
1. Consider your schedule. It’s tempting to dive right in and start organizing and decorating. But before you open your first pack of sticky tack, take some time to figure out what your daily schedule is going to look like. For each part of the day, ask yourself the following questions:
- What will I be doing? What kind of space will I need to do that?
- What will students be doing? What kind of space will they need to do that?
- What materials / furniture will we need access to?
Taking these factors into consideration will help you immensely in your room arrangement! You’ll be able to figure out where your large group rug or area will need to be (in relation to interactive white boards, dry erase boards, bulletin boards, etc.). You’ll also know where to put your small group table so that you can still supervise students who are working independently.
For a free planning guide to help you set up your daily schedule and routines, check out this post. Filling out that free planner is a great thing to do before setting up your room!
2. Remember that you don’t need to completely cover the walls before school starts. Kids need to take ownership of their classroom. They like to see their own work posted, and contribute to what is posted on the classroom walls. If you completely cover your walls with pre-made posters, you may unintentionally communicate to students that the classroom belongs to you, not them.
Having bare walls might feel strange at first. Try setting up your bulletin boards so that they can display anchor charts and hold student work. You can also place a sign on a blank bulletin boards that says “Under Construction,” in case you are worried about parents or administrators “judging” your bare walls!
3. Arrange supplies so that little people can reach them. With the exception of potentially dangerous materials (like pushpins), kids should have access to nearly all classroom supplies. Teaching students how to safely and responsibly access supplies will save you time and sanity later! You won’t find yourself getting out the tape 3 times a day, when 3 different kids (or maybe the same kid…) tear through their papers after some overly-energetic erasing.
If your classroom lacks low shelving, think creatively. One year, I had the custodian remove the doors from some low cabinets. That opened up so much more room for my Kinders’ supplies! You can also purchase relatively inexpensive shelves from Wal-Mart or Target.
4. If you teach using centers, put “quiet” centers as far away from “noisy” centers as possible. I learned this tip from my time teaching Pre-K in Georgia. The dramatic play area should not be next to the reading corner!! Even if you don’t plan on having any centers that are exceptionally noisy, remember that a center like partner reading can still distract nearby students who are reading or working independently.
5. Figure out how to get the most use out of your wall space. No matter how large my classroom was, I never seemed to have enough wall space! Creating a portable word wall is one way to save space. Make sure that whatever you choose to put up on the walls, you and the kids are going to use it frequently. I really like making my bulletin boards “anchor chart friendly.” This saves me time and ensures that useful, quality materials end up on the walls.
If you will be setting up a new classroom this fall, good luck to you! Remember that you can always rearrange and reorganize later in the year. I’m pretty sure that I did some mid-year rearranging every single year that I had my own classroom. 🙂
Do you have any room setup tips to add? Comment below! You can also check out my classroom organization materials on TpT.