Every year I am amazed at just how much time and effort it takes to get a classroom ready for students. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with how much stuff I have accumulated after teaching for so many years, but let's pretend it doesn't! It may take a lot of work, but it's something I enjoy doing and will miss again this year. So I'm taking a quick look back at what it takes to set-up a classroom.
This is what teachers in my school typically return to each August. All of the furniture is pushed to one side and a few things might be found on the built-ins. It seems overwhelming. The good news is on the first day I am ready to hit the ground running!
When setting up my classroom, I typically have four stages that I go through:
The first thing I do is move all of the furniture into my basic arrangement. I need to make sure the desks fit, my teaching area has enough space for my tools, we have a gathering place on the floor, and that there are still enough places for students and small groups to work around the classroom.
Once I know that my arrangement works, I begin unloading the cupboards, boxes, and tubs onto my bookcases and shelves. I need to be able to see my stuff so I can clean, organize, and replace as I go. This is also when I start putting things on display on the walls and cupboards. I save a lot of space for student work, but I like the classroom to be warm and inviting for the first day, too.
Once everything is out, clean, and organized, I'm ready to tackle the paperwork. I grab my B2S masters and head to the copy machine (all the while crossing my fingers that the fun colors of copy paper have been restocked over the summer). If not, I set aside a few of my masters and will run them on my favorite Astrobrights colors that I have purchased on my own.
The last thing left to do is put the final touches together and label everything. This is my favorite part, but it can also be very stressful. Our class lists are constantly being updated with new enrollments and students moving away. I'm always making extras of everything, just in case! Besides, I use the extras for my new students when they arrive.
Here's a pic of my classroom set-up a few years ago right before Meet the Teacher. It may not be absolutely picture perfect, but it's my second home for 10 months of the year!
For the record, our school always starts the Wednesday AFTER Labor Day. Our teacher meetings start about one week prior. Our building opens about mid-August, but I try not to head in before August 20th. Setting up a classroom DOES NOT happen overnight, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you that!