June 14, 2022
We are on a roll! So far, in phase one, we cleared out our inventory and ordered or purchased what we still need. In phase two, we planned and prepped, either for the first term, or for as much of the year as we could to lighten our load during the school year. Now, let’s talk about phase three–setting the stage in the classroom.
Most educators won’t have access to their rooms until a week or two before school returns, but we can still tackle several things before then!
In true teacher fashion, we will use an acronym for this phase, as well–let’s DECK out our classroom!
If you haven’t already thought of a theme, Pinterest, Tiktok, Instagram and YouTube can be great sources of inspiration, or talk to your team of co-teachers or school about a theme that may be in place to use. If themes aren’t your thing, no worries–just pick a basic color scheme that will be cheery and inspirational to students, and to you since you will be spending your days in there.
Once you have a theme, then we can think about layout. Be sure to check your school and department for requirements and expectations to incorporate them. Make a list of what is needed and what you want in your room. Then, sketch your ideas out on paper. It doesn’t have to be to scale, it’s just a guide. If you are like me and things change based on unit or method of working that day, sketch a few ideas out and choose your base set up for day one and orientation to start with.
DESIGNATE ZONES This could be required stations, areas of the classroom, or various subjects. Will you need any or all of these–technology centers, reading areas, group work, solo workers, partner workers, teacher area, supplies, turn in zone.
EXECUTE IDEAS AND INSPIRATIONS Refer back to your ideas from that fabulous training or video you watched (if you’re like me, you have a folder with ALL of these saved!) and see what to draw from and how they work together.
CUSTOMIZE THE SPACE Once your zones and furniture are in place, it’s time to start decorating. Don’t overwhelm the space with too much visual clutter, but make it cozy with a few basic colors, real furniture for versatile seating, a rug, fake plants (or real, if you are lucky enough to be allowed to have them without the Fire Marshall dinging you!), flower pens–whatever speaks to you. I always aimed to have a classroom that felt safe and comfortable like home, and my students often said it felt that way, so goal achieved!
KEEP IT FLEXIBLE AND SAFE As you go through different units and times of year, you may have to move things around, or it may just not have the flow you want once the new year’s kids come in. Keep those extra sketches around. Keep simple, plan for versatile and moveable. Also, be sure to check for safety–nothing too close, posing a tripping or fire hazard, lines of sight and travel are clear for drills or actual emergencies.
If you can’t get into your room early and are going through this series over the summer, take your time and enjoy crafting decor, shopping and having lunch with family or friends, and looking around your home for items you don’t need there, but could be great in your classroom. It’s also a great time to prep welcome letters, videos, and QR codes for students and families to scan at orientation or when you send things home. If you don’t know how to create videos or QR codes and want to know, now’s a great time to learn. Consider a website for resources and FAQs, and plan for communications (weekly mail merge progress reports are a great tool and quick, if your grading system can be extracted to a spreadsheet). If you plan to have a website or a social media the students will have access to, be sure to discuss with your school leadership so you can be in compliance with policies. If you do either of these, be sure it is separate from your personal information and is entirely inclusive of all students.
I’d love to see what you create, so share those pictures and tag me. I’m always looking for inspiration or opportunities to celebrate my fellow educators!
Like or comment below and share with others to support the blog. I post twice a week about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find me on Twitter @AddictedtoTeac1 or on Tiktok: @sonya.BOMSquadleader. You can find more about our adventures on our our website at BarnesOnMove.com, Facebook, TikTok & Twitter: @BarnesOnMove . Support us and get more in depth and personal interactions at Patreon: Barnes On Move