Every year, a classroom goes through a lot of wear and tear. After the summer, and while it's still empty, it's time to give the room a good scrub down. While your school's custodians have probably done a stellar job cleaning the floors and perhaps even wiping down the boards, it's often up to teachers to do the nitty-gritty room cleaning. So break out that cleaning spray and wipe down all the classroom surfaces. Clean out your desk and cabinets, and wipe down bookshelves to get everything sparkling before you start unpacking and setting things up.
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Plan your classroom layout
Sit down, look around, and consider the best starting layout for your classroom. Think about how your students will move around the space, and how you can arrange desks, chairs, tables, bookshelves to create an effective learning environment.
What zones or spaces do you need or want to create? Here are some ideas:
- Alternative workspace
- Chill out zone
- Collaborative learning space
- Reading zone
- Safe space
- Wrap up zone
For more on this, check out 12 Ways to Upgrade Your Classroom Design.
Ideas and tools
- Classroom architect tool
- Pinterest classroom design and organization board
- Research on classroom seating arrangements
- Scholastic classroom set-up app
Create your classroom procedures
Now that you've considered your layout and design, let's focus on procedures.
It's time to think about things like:
- Where will students access materials?
- How will students hand in work?
- Where will you keep hall passes?
Introducing classroom procedures and expectations at the beginning of the year - and staying consistent - keeps students and teachers free to focus on learning. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Ideas for classroom procedures and systems
Research varies on whether classroom decorations help or hinder learning, but experts note that classroom design should inspire learning - not distract from it. When creating visuals for your space, consider the 3 Cs: Create a calming, clean and comfortable environment for students. Visuals that serve as celebrations, provide supportive, welcoming messages, and reference what's been learned are worthy decor choices.
Ideas for classroom visuals
Get supplies and organize
Now that your classroom is laid out and you have your visuals done, it’s time to do your last-minute shopping and organizing! What will you need to stay organized and effective as a teacher? Consider how both you and your students will use the space, and create your own teacher systems for staying organized during the school day and throughout the year.
Cool ideas for you and your classroom
- Custom teacher stamps
- Drawer cart decals
- Self-care for the real world
- Seriously affordable teacher t-shirts
- Simple paper storage
- Teacher binder
- Teacher desk drawer organizers
There are also some great stores that offer teacher discounts, so be sure to check those out too.
Take a deep breath!
The school year is coming, and you’ve created a beautiful, functional environment for your students. Remember to be flexible — nothing is ever perfect. Real teaching isn’t like a pristine Pinterest board. If something doesn’t work as you envisioned, don’t hesitate to find new, creative ways to rework the space.
For now, take a deep breath and look around your room. Imagine your students in it — learning, laughing, and feeling loved. After all, that’s what it’s all about. Here’s to a great year!