I start my classroom design plan for the next school year at the end of each school year. We have to leave a floor plan layout for our custodial staff in the window of classrooms before leaving for summer break. I am so appreciative of our custodial staff for setting up all of the furniture in my classroom each year because this is a huge task! (I realize this is not how it works in every school! I'm a lucky girl!)
I leave a basic drawing of where I want all of my big furniture items. This way all of my layout is set up when I return from summer break. (I sometimes decide to make a few changes after returning, but this is such a huge time-saver having it all set up!)
Another thing that I do at the end of each school year is pack (and label) an open me first box for when I return.
I pack all of the items that I know I'm going to need right away when I come in to set up my classroom into my "open me first" box. Glue gun, glue sticks, stapler, etc. This way I'm not spending an hour to try and find these items when I come in to set up!
Another huge time-saver that helps me when I go in to set up my classroom is that I plan out each of my walls/bulletin boards before going to school. I used to waste all kinds of time at school trying to figure out what I wanted on each wall, which borders to use with which background. I found that if I planned it all ahead of time, it really helped me get more done while I was at school.
I have 3 kids at home with me all summer, so I really only get to go into school for a couple of days to set up. Having a plan has really helped me to get everything done in a short amount of time! I also always enlist help to get my classroom set up. My husband takes off a day from work to come in and help with any big items (like putting together book shelves, etc.) I also have had help from just about every one of my family members (mom, dad, sister, cousins, grandma, aunt, niece, etc... if they're willing to help, I take it!) I've tried bringing my own children, but I've found they create more work than help...maybe in a few years! Former students also love to come in to help set up!
I am also very careful when I pack my room at the end of the year. I pack my library in reverse alphabetical order and label each of the boxes with the order in which to open them. This way I don't have to spend hours re-organizing my library as I unpack it!
Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect on that first day of school. You have all school year to make changes! Allowing your students to be a part of that design gives them some ownership of the classroom. So, I often leave blank bulletin boards (with just a background and border) so we can add to them together.
Making our classroom into a cozy, inviting space for my students is one of my favorite things to do as a teacher. It can be very hard to get so much done in only a couple of days. I hope some of these tips can help you make your learning space into a space you love to share with your students.
Join us again next week for #teachertidbittuesday as we share our top 10 favorite movies of all time!