Hey y'all! Welcome back to Tidbit Tuesday. Today I'm talking a little bit about how I go about planning my classroom design and layout. As you read, take ideas and make them your own. Also, keep in mind, this is what works best for me. I changed my classroom design mid year last year so that it would flow better for myself and my kiddos.
The first thing I suggest doing is going INTO your classroom to see what you have to work with. I made the mistake, last year of buying, buying, buying before I actually stepped foot into my new classroom. The teacher before me had left me with a ton of tubs and baskets, as well as used books for my classroom library. I spent a good chunk of money on classroom storage, but I also saved a great deal, because she left all of her dollar tree locker tubs for her books. That was a lifesaver.
After you see what you have to work with and the space you have provided, I suggest grabbing a few pieces of scrap paper and just scribbling your ideas and dreams for each wall. Literally, I have a spiral that has a page for each wall in my classroom and what I want to go on it. That makes it A LOT easier when you're going to set everything up, print bulletin board words, or make border choices. Also, if you're anything like me, you get to channel your inner interior designer and it's great.
I like to tackle my classroom walls before I start moving desks and furniture, but I do move my big pieces first... just to have them where I want them to begin with. When you're hanging all the things, I suggest having a few things handy: 1. a leveler... 2. push pins and 3. a ladder..... I'm pretty stingy about wanting my things to be straight as a board. Before I put up any letters or accents, I use pushpins to hang them up and then I staple... to avoid taking out a million staples. Just get your letters and accents aligned and unpin as you staple...kind of like sewing! And as for the ladder, let's just say, last year I had a running joke with my homeroom about how I bruised my tailbone from falling off a desk trying to make my room look homey for them! LOL!
***This year, I'm going to try and have a little "preview" material on each subject-area bulletin board. Last year I just left them empty, waiting for anchor charts***
Alright, after I have that all taken care of, I label. Label all the things. (If they haven't been already.) I use the number system, each student has a number and their materials/bins are labeled with it before the first day of school. I do this for a couple of reasons. 1. I don't get a class last until, like not even a week before school starts and our turn over rate is pretty high. (we have a lot of move ins and outs) 2. I print and laminate my labels... so it's really difficult to get all of that finished in that short amount of time. It's up to you, I used to be totally against the numbers.... now I understand.
I like to draw out the arrangement of my desks/seating. I'm starting to, very slowly, implement flexible seating. (it's pricey, y'all!!) So, I get my desks set up last, Mostly because it's my least favorite thing to do, I still struggle to get them positioned perfectly, for optimal productivity... ha!
Setting up a classroom can be daunting, especially as a new teacher. You're going to find the perfect set up for yourself. You might do things in a different order, or prioritize things differently and that's okay! If I could give one piece of universal advice, it would be this: START WITH A LIST AND GO FROM THERE. It doesn't matter the order, get your thoughts out on paper and it'll make tackling it so much easier. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Instagram classrooms can seem daunting, but most of those were built over a period of YEARS. Make a budget, use what you have and it'll be perfect. At the end of the day, your students need a productive space to work in. Target dollar spot items don't make or break that contingency.
With all the love,