The abc of setting up your classroom

This year, must have been the first year in my 18 year teaching career that my classroom was so organised and ready for the upcoming academic year. I had stayed at school after hours, the last few days of school to finalise it, it was ready and boy did I feel good about myself! In actual fact, I felt more than good, I felt great! Great, until that last meeting, when it was announced that the school was going to be painted over the summer holidays! Painted?! This year?? Nooooo…! All that hard work and preparation fell before my eyes. Left with no other choice, I  piled everything in boxes in the centre of the room and stripped the classroom walls so that it could be painted. Feeling numb inside, and dreading the start of the school year and my new added workload, I began my summer holiday break!

Currently, I am sitting at the beach with an amazing view in front of me, my batteries are charging and I am no longer feeling distraught. Positivity has kicked in; I have decided that I am going to view my new classroom preparation as a new challenge and will strive to make this year’s classroom, even better than last! 

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 12.58.34 PM

imageI am sure many teachers are in a similar position to mine, I know in the United States especially, teachers are required to pack everything up at the end of every year. Yikes! With all this in mind, and starting to think about how I will tackle my mountain of boxes when I get back, I decided to write this post in a thumbs up, you-got-this mindset, to help all colleagues tackle their classroom in 3 simple steps, as easy as abc. Read on to find out how we can do this! ❤

 

The abc of setting up your classroom_1

A. EVALUATE YOUR SPACE

When it comes to setting out your classroom from scratch, evaluating the physical space within the classroom is necessary in order for you to begin arranging the desks. Desk arrangements can consist of traditional rows, group clusters, U-shapes, E-shapes and any other arrangement that may work for you, just let your imagination unfold. I have tried all the above arrangements throughout the years and I would say they all have their pros and cons. Depending on the children’s age, your school and particular subject you teach, these may vary. Personally, I like to switch between different ones, depending on the lesson. For example, if group work has been planned, then it is obvious that the desks will be arranged in groups. During exam week on the other hand, desks will be arranged in rows. Don’t be afraid to try different layouts out to see what works for you. Being flexible with the seating, aids diversity and keeps things fresh.

groups rows U-shape

 

B. CREATE CORNERS AND DISTINCT AREAS

After the desks have been arranged, section off areas that you wish to have in your classroom. These may consist of: a maths area, a writing workshop, a reading corner, a computer area and many more. The areas will undoubtably depend on the age you are teaching as well as the size of the classroom itself. Decorate these areas and try to make it as child-friendly and appealing as possible. It is important that the children will want to go to these areas to enhance their learning, so first impressions always go a long way. Think of what resources you need in these areas, how they can be attractively displayed and be easily accessible to the children. I always try to encourage independency and like children to take charge of their own learning by using the areas to help them grow as learners. These are some of my areas, from last year. I took photos of them, so that I could remember what I had done. They had really worked and the children loved them!

Writer's Workshop Area

Writing area

 

 

 

Reading Area

 

C. BULLETIN BOARDS AND COLOUR SCHEME 

This is one of my favourite steps. Bulletin boards really either make or break a classroom. I like to get this started after the desks and areas have been put into place so that I can put pins and card on the desks,  it’s easier for me to decorate the boards that way. I know some teachers prefer to do this step first, before arranging the desks, but really it doesn’t matter which way you do it. Just do what works for you. The colour scheme you have chosen for your classroom, should make it easy for you to prepare the borders, and the designated areas themselves will help you with deciding on the content. I try to keep the bulletin board in my classroom, themed. That way children always know where to look for help or reminders. Not sure what colour scheme you want to go for this year? Click HERE for help with deciding on the best colour scheme for your classroom.

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Science Revision Display

A classroom setup can dramatically affect pupils’ attitudes toward habits of learning. Children need an environment that is organised, stimulating, and comfortable in order to learn effectively. Use your imagination to create the best environment for yourself and your students!

Need some inspiration to get started? Check out my favourite site Schoolgirl Style by Melanie, for some amazing classroom ideas to get you super inspired! My last year’s classroom theme was inspired by Schoolgirl Style’s Oxford Blue. I loved it so much that I am thinking of doing it again this year, for me it has an added bonus that it matches the school’s colours: navy blue, white with a splash of yellow! 🙂

I always love reading your comments, so always feel free to leave one if you found this post helpful. Stay tuned to see how this year’s classroom setting progresses. Looking forward to hearing about yours, too! 

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Related posts:

9 Tips for Effective Classroom Displays

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Colours for your Classroom

*Graphics by Jenna Hudson 

 

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