How to set up a classroom

How to set up a classroom

As a lecturer in Primary Teaching, I often get asked “How do I set up a classroom?”.

Well, I’m back in the classroom setting it up from scratch so, I thought this would be a great time to document and explain how I actually do this!! I know term 2 is about to begin but I stumbled upon this draft …. so here it is… published at last!

  1. Before you arrive at the school, go through and sort out what resources you already have, box up the ones you want to keep and ditch the rest!
  2. Begin thinking about the curriculum – what units will you teach and begin thinking about behaviour management. (This does not mean begin writing lesson plans and laminating stuff for your BM plan but simply begin to consider these things!)
  3. Make lists!!! Seriously write everything down that you need to do, make, buy, laminate, file, sort etc….
  4. When you arrive at the school and you step into your classroom look at how the previous teacher has placed the teacher desk, other desks, technology and any other resources (take photos) and begin thinking about how you might like to set up the room. What worked for one teacher may not work for you…. but if it worked for them it just might be the best thing – so consider all options related to desk positioning.
  5. Get a class list and pictures if possible and begin learning your students names and please, please check how to prounounce names if you are unsure!! From this list make up some “check off” lists and an assessment list! I am in the process of switching all my assessment to online but I feel more comfortable using the paper system still :-/ make up lists so you can write down grades for spelling, maths, mental, science, history, geography, written language, oral langauge, reading comprehension etc….
  6. Make desk tags with names and write out a seating plan.
  7. Begin thinking about and writing out routines and how you want to check diaries, homework and tasks throughout the day. I use a clip board with a class list and I keep track of all these things using that!
  8. Set the desks out – I began with a U shape but hated it and have now gone back to rows. I know it’s traditional but it works for me and my students!
  9. Go through the stationary order and double check everything! Begin to place it on students desks (try and rope in some friends to help you with this, one of our fabulous SSO’s and a good friend of mine helped do this task for me and it was the biggest blessing ever!
  10. Place posters, decorate with washi tape, posters and maybe poms around the classroom to start setting the atmosphere and of course the all important door sign! I used Vistaprint and ordered a large window decal as my whole door is glass! It looks great! Check out pinterest for some fabulous ideas in relation to setting up, decorating or organising your classroom!
    1. Here is my pinterest page… do yourself a favour and also check out Hannah Overton’s and Jess Ottewell’s!
  11. Now that the classroom is physcially set up now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty planning! Plan in as much detail as you can and try and photocopy and prepare as much as you can too. In saying that, my first term was literally a day to day organisation thing – I wanted to be super prepared but it just wasn’t working! Just do what you can do! Always begin with outcomes and work back from there! What do you want students to know, understand or be able to do and how will you know they have achieved all they should have? Also begin to think about differentiating the content for those students who need some extra help and those who need extending!
  12. Write a welcome letter to the families to give out on the first day. Make sure you outline what units of work you will be covering, what is expected, any projects happening and anything that the children need to bring in (for my Gr. 6/7 this included glue stick, tissue box and USB). It’s essential you also introduce yourself and who you are!
  13. Now that you are all set up make sure you rest and get a good night’s sleep before your first day!

It can be overwhelming to set up a room from beginning to end so make a list of things to do, buy and make! And allocate what tasks your friends (if they are wonderful and willing – thanks to my friends Sophie, Jayne, Michelle and Karen who are helping me and keeping me calm haha) and SSO’s can do for you! Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Good luck and I will add to this post as I think of more things and pics will be coming soon! 🙂