Can we just all take a moment and appreciate the beauty and SPACE that I had in my first classroom! This picture wasn’t even taken from the far corner of the classroom! I just pulled this up and immediately felt jealous of my former self for having taught in such a spacious classroom and not appreciating what I had!! Ugh! Appreciate your spaces teachers!
Ok enough feeling sorry for myself! Let’s talk about classroom set up! I remember being PUMPED UP walking into my first classroom. How was I going to set it up? What cute bulletin boards would I create? (Surprise! My district didn’t allow cute bulletin boards. The walls were left blank to fill with anchor charts/student work!) How would I arrange? All of these questions were running through my head. I immediately started moving stuff around and became overwhelmed because I really had no idea what I was doing! So… through the years I have set up many classrooms and will be setting up a brand new classroom in Poland in the next few weeks! I want to share my life changing (for real) strategies and things I’ve come to learn.
Most people save the best for last but that’s not my style!
- The Best Advice I Ever Got! – When I was a first year teacher, moments after walking into that beautiful space my teacher mentor came across the hall to offer advice about classroom setup. It is advice that I still use as a teacher and I feel you will too. Don’t recreate the wheel. Thousands of people have set up classrooms before you. Peek in and be nosey. Walk around your school and peek into other teachers classrooms. Look at how they have things arranged. Feel out their spaces. Use what you like, keep looking for what you need. I will admit that I am like the ultimate stalker when I walk into schools. I check out EVERYTHING. Now that camera phones are cool now (am I aging myself? But did you see that blurry camera phone picture above?) you can even snap photos of what you like and head back to see what will work in your space. Hit up Pinterest. Check out what others have done! Also when talking to teachers at your school find out what is required of your classroom space. Many districts have a list of things classrooms must have (a gathering space, places for anchor charts, a classroom library etc.) Look into this before you get too far along.
- Your Classroom Has to Work For You and Your Students – Enjoy your walk around the school and your walk around pinterest but don’t forget some ideas will not work for you as a teacher and that is OK!! Let me repeat, THAT IS OK! My first year all of the other 2nd grade teachers had their carpet in the library area and so I put mine there. The problem was that we actually sat longer in front of the smartboard. I moved the carpet and we were all much happier. Figure out what will work best for you as a teacher. This is like your second home so you want to be comfortable in your space there.
- This brings me to tip number three!! Nothing is permanent. Everything can be changed! (but not too often! It will drive the little ones insane and therefore drive you insane!) If you love something and later it doesn’t work out CHANGE IT!!
Now A Little To Do List!
Click here for a PDF of the Classroom Setup Checklist
Happy Organizing! Let me know how it goes! Once I move to Poland I will let you in on my classroom setup this year!