Are you ready to go back to school? By now, most teachers are back in their classrooms, either teaching or getting everything set up for their students to return. Do you find yourself a bit overwhelmed by everything you have to get done? We’re here to help you get organized!
There’s no point in working on other aspects of your classroom until you’ve arranged your furniture into a configuration that works for you. The goal is to arrange your classroom in a way that optimizes learning. You need to account for student’s desks, your desk, storage space, wall displays, and more! The way you arrange your classroom will vary greatly depending on what grade you are teaching. For younger grades, it would be wise to set up different centers. There should be a desk/table area as well as other sections of the classroom dedicated to different activities. Reading corners, art centers, and an area for students to keep belongings in are popular in these grades. In high school however, these types of centers are less necessary. In addition, you must carefully consider how you wish to arrange desks. Rows are traditional and great for keeping students eyes forward, while clustered groups and U-shaped arrangements are better for group and class discussion.
Once you have the floor plan arranged, you can begin to focus on the walls of your classrooms. Keep in mind you don’t want to cover every inch of your walls in decorations. This will only be distracting. Instead, use the wall space you have to teach your students, display relevant teaching materials and motivation, and show off student work. It is likely you will already have a chalkboard or whiteboard set up for you to work with. Next it’s time to plan bulletin boards. Decide where you want it, and what you want on it. Next choose the classroom decorations you feel are essential for your class. Learning charts are practical choices. As you hang those, be sure to leave wall space for any student art you may want to display.
Your next step is to find a place for other necessities. What types of necessities? Baskets are a big one. Baskets are often used to organize different types of papers, such as homework, late assignments, work for absent students, and more. Create labels and place these baskets somewhere accessible for your students. If you want to use tubs or boxes to organize supplies, decorations, and more, be sure to label these as well before putting them away. Binders are another item that should always have labels. The more labels you have, the easier it will be to keep track of everything!
Once you have most of the classroom set up, it’s time to focus on your own desk. You will be spending a lot of time at this desk, so it’s important to keep it organized in a way you understand. We can’t tell you how to set up your desk, but we do have tips. First, be selective about what you keep at your desk. You should only keep items on your desk that you use regularly. Stacking trays and organizers are great to use on desks. Your desk is a good place to keep track of important documents and dates. Use a binder to keep track of your lessons, contacts forms, student birthdays, and more.
Once you have all your regular classroom items organized, it’s a good idea to put together a small section for your substitute teachers. Maybe it’s a labeled binder. Maybe it’s a labeled tub with activities. Whatever it is, keep it somewhere visible and easy for substitutes to access. Having an organized area just for substitutes will ensure class runs more smoothly while you are away, and that everything will stay organized when you are away.
Of course, this brief overview can’t account for everything. It’s intended to be a helpful guide to make the process of organizing a classroom less stressful. If you are looking for more specific tips, check out our pinterest account! We have boards about classroom setup, reading corners, and more!