It is crucial to be finished with your classroom decoration and organization before any child steps through the threshold. It might sound simple but bear in mind as soon as the kids are there, you won't have time for anything like that.
That is a tingly feeling when you first enter your new classroom where from now on, you will spend a lot of waking hours. It is hard to believe just yet but as time goes by it will become your second home. So it is worth to spend some time to think about it and make it as comfortable, friendly and welcoming as possible if you don't want to redo it over and over again.
1. Circle time area
Look around carefully in the classroom to find an empty wall or maybe a window where the calendar with the days of the week, months, date and weather cards can be adjusted. Also you might find a plug useful if planning to listen to songs during circle time and you only have a CD player. Of course playing the songs from your iPad or phone doesn't require a plug.
Think about it how to arrange the desks: in rows, as a horse shoe facing the board, in groups, maybe two desks next to each other or opposite each other, perhaps individual desks work for you. It all depends what method you are planning to use in the classroom.
We mainly use three out of these.
- It is advised to use the horse shoe shape if you work as a class so everybody has the same chance to see what's happening in the middle and also they can equally participate in it.
- If you want the desks in groups, it is a good idea to put four tables together in a T-shape. So when you work as a class everybody is able to see the board, too.
- For tests obviously you have to use individual desks.
3. Reading corner
It preferably is straight next to the class library, usually at the back of the classroom. So when some kids arrive early at school, they can find a book and start their days with quiet reading. Consider to use different themes depending on the age group and the topics that they learn about. It could be space, circus, prehistory with dinosaurs, fairy tales just to give you a couple of examples.
You might wonder what to put on the walls For the start some attractive Posters about numbers, letters, phonics, spelling, VCOP, Grammar rules,...etc that the kids can visually learn from or they can be used as help in a daily basis.
Birthday chart, Reward system board with the names of your students and if kids are arranged in groups then put the names of the groups up on the walls, as well.
Classroom rules with pictures. You can make the rules and the consequences together with the class at the first week of school.
Words or sentence of the week.
Leave space for children's work later as the classroom will have its personal touch whenever it is decorated with individual kids work. Also it shows how much and how well you'll have been working.
5. Notice board
Class list to start with, names should be highlighted whoever has special allergy, any special treatment (eg. Diabetes), how children come and leave school (with parents, grandparents, guardians, school bus), who and what days stay at after school activities. Later you put any news there to be seen for everyone who visits the class.
Invest some money for buying some duct tape to use it on the floor.
- You can stick some on the floor wherever you want the kids to line up.
- Make a semi-circle with it on the floor in the circle-time area. Kids can decorate it later with different shape and coloured stickers to make it look prettier. You can also put lines where to leave school bags, which is the quiet area or the play area.
Label the shelves and the boxes on the shelves where to put everyday items such as books, notebooks, pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, homework. Other items like glue-sticks, scissors, crayons, felt-tip pens, paint, art papers, plasticine. If you label them you can teach your kids to put everything back whenever they finished using them.
Have you ticked all of the above? Well done! Probably you also have some fabulous ideas. Please share, we would like to hear, see and improve, too.
7 easy steps to organise your classroom by Miss T. Published on Miss T. ESL