Does thinking about setting up your classroom have you stressed? Not me! Call me crazy but I love to plan and I love planning my ideal classroom each year. I have ten back to school tips for you to consider and a classroom planning organizer and set-up checklist to help.
There are so many decisions to be made and so many things to consider when setting up your classroom. The process can feel overwhelming and it’s easy to feel like you don’t have enough time to think about it. Instead of letting the stress of the task overwhelm you, take a step back and make a plan with a back-to-school classroom checklist for teachers. Dividing classroom organizing and planning into manageable parts can help alleviate the overwhelm. A back to school classroom planner and checklist can help make setting up your classroom as fun and painless as possible.
Back to School Tip #1: Classroom Decor
How do you want your classroom to look?
Decorating your classroom is one of the most fun parts of setting up a classroom. You have the opportunity to create a space that reflects your personality and creates a sense of comfort and welcome for your students. Your style can be rainbows, chalkboard and burlap, or just pops of your favorite colors. You don’t have to go crazy with the decorating; a few accent items here and there are all you need to give your classroom a stylish, welcoming atmosphere.
Back to School Tip #2: Bulletin Boards and Walls
What is required to be on display in your classroom, and what would you like to display?
Most classrooms need a space to display anchor charts, vocabulary, and student work. Some also require focus walls, calendars, and school-wide expectations. Make a list of the wall displays that are required in your classroom and the displays you would like to have in your classroom.
Back to School Tip #3: Storage
Classrooms full of students are also classrooms full of stuff. Where will everything go? Storage for books, papers, and supplies is often limited in classrooms so it is important to have a plan. Students need space to store their books, papers, and miscellaneous supplies throughout the year. Teachers need a place for teacher editions of texts and teacher supplies. Classroom community supplies and classroom library books need to be stored and labeled for easy access for students.
Back to School Tip #4: Papers
Classrooms generate so many papers and copies that need to be stored and organized. Coming up with a specific system where each type of paper will go is so helpful in maintaining an organized classroom. Consider where you will keep copies of assignments and activities that you have prepped for the week. Where will students turn in assignments? How will you return assignments to students?
Back to School Tip #5: Classroom Layout
How will the students’ desks or tables be arranged? In rows, pairs, or groups? What furniture do you have? Sketch out a layout of your classroom before you start moving things around. Think of the specific spaces you might need for small group teaching, whole group meetings, a reading area, or a calm down area.
Back to School Tip #6: Behavior Management
A solid behavior management plan is a necessity in every classroom and impacts how you set up your classroom. Your rewards and consequences should be posted. You might want to plan for a space in your classroom for a brief timeout to cool down, such as a calm down station. If you use positive behavior incentives in your classroom, that should be displayed too.
Back to School Tip #7: Expectations
Having a plan for classroom expectations is a must for every classroom. Classroom expectations and rules need to be established during the first week of school. Whether you have your own set of expectations or develop them with your students, you need a plan. Expectations should be displayed for students and guest teachers.
Back to School Tip #8: Routines
Your daily routines need to be included in plans for setting up the layout of your classroom. Morning Meetings, small group teaching, lining up, centers, and more all need a place in your room. Morning meetings are usually held as a group on the carpet. Student activity centers can be done at small tables, on the floor, or at your students’ seats. All of these routines need to be considered when setting up a classroom and planning for the new school year.
Back to School Tip #9: Communication
Good communication is so important in building a great relationship with your students and their families. How will you communicate with them? A weekly or monthly newsletter can keep parents informed and can be sent home on paper with your students or can be sent electronically by email or via a classroom app such as Class Dojo or Remind. Do you have a class website? This can be used to keep your families informed as well. How will your students’ families get in touch with you? A classroom app, text, email? Plan how you will communicate with families before the year starts and choose a system that will be easy for you to consistently maintain.
Back to School Tip #10: Planning and Grading
Yup. It’s important to PLAN for PLANNING. Whether you are team planning or planning solo, it’s a great idea to have a dedicated day or days and times during the week that you plan to plan. Planning is probably can be one of the most time-consuming tasks teachers need to do but it’s also one of the most important. Well-planned lessons for the week make your week go much more smoothly. I always plan on Wednesdays so that I have time to make copies and organize assignments on Thursdays (so that I don’t have to ever stay late on Fridays). It’s also a good idea to plan your grading time. I like to grade on Mondays so that I incorporate the data into my lesson planning on Wednesdays.
Finally, I would like for you to consider selecting a “WORD” for the year. This will be your word and embody what type of vibe you want for your physical classroom and how your students will interact with you and their classmates. What’s your WORD for the New School Year?
As promised, I have a FREE Back To School Planning and Organizer so that you could grab your favorite pens and sketch, brainstorm, make lists, and jot down your vision of your ideal classroom. Get your planner and work through my 10 Back to School Tips to plan for your best school year!
Grab your free Back to School planner HERE.
Want to have your BEST Open House ever? Read my tips, “How to Have Your Best Open House“
Want to read about how I set up my Calm Down Station? Read my 4 Tips to Managing Challenging Behaviors.
Need some Classroom Décor ideas? See what’s new in my Classroom Décor resources, here!