What do you do first when setting up your room?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by LMichele, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2014

    I still have a 6 weeks left of summer, but I'm starting to think about setting up my classroom. I'm switching positions and therefore classrooms, and have inherited things from two classrooms. Everything is stored in the closets. There is A LOT of stuff.

    How do you start setting up? Do you set up furniture, then organize, then decorate? I'm thinking I'll get the bulletin boards up first (because that's the fun part!), inventorying what is in the closets and organizing what I can, and then furniture.
     
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  3. jde3399

    jde3399 Rookie

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    Every year I start a little differently, but the one thing I always start with is furniture. All my furniture is usually piled into the middle of the room and I can't get to anything. So instead of just moving the furniture out of the way and then moving it again, I just go ahead and get that out of the way. Plus this helps me visually see what spaces I have left for decorations. I have no bulliten boards in my room, so I have to make my own using the bulliten board paper and borders. After the furniture is set, there is no telling what I do. I tend to not be able to work on just one thing for too long, cuz it can get kinda frustrating. Over the years, I have started making lists of what I know I need to get done before the beginning of the year. Some years the lists are shorter than other years. This year I decided to change up my room layout, so it may take longer than usual to get everything where it needs to be before I start decorating.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My custodians set up my furniture. I unwrap my bookshelves, set out baskets, supplies, resources which were away for summer. The I unpack and store my ordered supples, do name tags on desks and welcome bb. Takes me two days tops...just a few short hours per day, not full days!:eek: I HATE giving up my last few waning days of summer, so I've pretty much got it down to a system!
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    When switching to a new classroom (as I will be this year), I have to get things organized and put away first. Then I can decorate.

    I'm very excited that the teacher I'm taking over for cleaned everything out. And I mean everything! She left a few basic supplies organized into baskets. Other than that, not a thing!
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I try to set up my room in the reverse order from how I pack it. My class library is the last thing I packed, so it's the first thing I unpack.

    I DESPISE decorating my room. Honestly... I just get everything unpacked, and then I usually find somebody who is into decorating and buy them lunch in return for them doing the decorating for me.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    This year I'm dreading setting up. I'm in the same classroom as last year, and I had it set up pretty well. I wasn't at school the last two days of school (my dad had a major heart attack), so I didn't get to "take down" my room with my kids the way I normally do. I did get most things packed away, but then had to report for my summer job with the sped department, so I couldn't go back to the school while I was doing that (the entire district is on a 4-day work week for the summer). That didn't end until last week, so this was supposed to be my one "free" week for classroom work and printing posters & making copies, BUT... we got an email from the P that our entire school is being painted AND the custodians are just now waxing the floors. This wouldn't be a problem EXCEPT I will be in Teacher Leader training this coming week - all week (M-TH), and in a mandatory school-wide training the following week (M-TH). The week after that, we have Monday and Tuesday available to set up, but then teachers report for professional development Wednesday - Friday, and the kids come back Monday! Eek! I'm just praying that my boss will be nice (she usually is) and open up the school on Friday, so we can actually get some work done! :dizzy:
     
  8. Mommytotmn

    Mommytotmn Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2014

    I figure out room layout first and set up the furniture. Then I do the bulletin boards. When that is accomplished, I can go through materials/curriculum in a more comfy place. :)
     
  9. reneeinms

    reneeinms Rookie

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    Organize, furniture, decorate. I save the best for last. :)
     
  10. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Furniture, organize, and decorate. Right now I'm in the organize process. The furniture I moved last week. I am working a couple of hours a day when I am too bored at home. Plus we are going on vacation the first week of August. Then the second week I have two days of PD. The third week is our week of meetings and then we start on the 25th.
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Teachers are always contracted to return one week before the first day of school. However, I was one of those teachers who liked taking my time (setting up and organizing). I normally started coming to school a week before teachers' start date (that way, I'd have about five extra days to get things done without rushing).

    I am extremely meticulous and it took me several days to set up bulletin boards. I'd usually ask my bf for help when it came to decorating the classroom (he's just as type A as I am).
     
  12. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I get the furniture in order first. Generally our custodians do it all for us, but it's not always 'exactly' like my vision. That doesn't take too long. Then I get stuff up on the walls. I do most of the planning once that's taken care of because I have space to work in. I try to take 3 days max to get everything sorted. This year may be longer because I'm switching grades so I'll have to sort through new curriculum.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I also get my furniture arranged first. Then I organize and get things up on the bulletin boards. As I'm getting materials organized, I often tweak my furniture arrangement to make for better traffic flow. I'll probably be in for 4 days during the week before school starts, 4-5 hours a day.
     
  14. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    I have to get the furniture arranged before I can do anything else. Once that is in place I set up center areas. And I decorate last. I don't have to do much decorating because we don't have to take down everything off our walls.
     
  15. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Furniture is usually the most difficult part. Then I work on organizing the counters and bookcases. The bulletin boards come last.
     
  16. EiffelTower

    EiffelTower Comrade

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    I worked in my room last week and the very first thing I did was place all the furniture where it needed to go. It was all piled in the corner of my room, so I was unable to get to a lot of things with it in the way. After the furniture was in place, I set up my personal area and pulled out anything I had placed in cabinets before last year ended. Then I started to put butcher paper/borders up on all of my bulletin boards. Now I'm working on the content that will actually go on each board.
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I move furniture first, and then start on bulletin boards.
     
  18. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jul 20, 2014

    Furniture first. Then bulletin boards. Then cleaning/organizing. Then decorating.

    Last year was easy my 3rd year in that room I knew exactly how I wanted everything. I have a new room this year, it's going to take a bit longer.
     
  19. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    1. Have a mild panic attack. Stare at everything.

    2. Slowly start moving furniture to one corner or the hallway, if possible.

    3. Lay out the furniture that I want and label the rest for removal.

    4. Clean and organize supplies/cabinets/closets.

    5. Decorate/bulletin boards.

    In the past I have been completely done by the end of June. My kids help me a lot. Then I spend teacher PD days planning. However, this year I am completely switching rooms AND they have been painting....so half my stuff is in one hallway, half is in another, and I can't get in there for 2 more weeks. I'm VERY anxious!
     
  20. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    :lol:
     
  21. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Take pictures of everything and measure your walls and boards and shelves. Then take it all home and think about what you want to include in the classroom and how you want to set up the space. It's much more productive and far less overwhelming to go in with a plan than it is to try to make sense of it "in real time." :) Jodi
     
  22. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Jul 21, 2014

    I set the major furniture first because I usually change things up a little each year. I do the walls and bulletin boards next and then finish up with the supplies, books, etc.
     
  23. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Thanks everyone! I have absolutely no idea how I want to set up the furniture, which is making me nervous. I feel like I won't be able to get anything done if I'm stuck on the furniture arrangement.
     
  24. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    You'll find a way that makes sense at the beginning of the year. Then once you and your class has lived in the space a for a bit you'll tweak. I think I changed my room layout 4 times my first year as I learned what worked.
     
  25. raynepoe

    raynepoe Companion

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    I start with the furniture, ceiling stuff, and alternate cleaning out a cabinet, and putting up a bulletin board. I get bored doing just organizing or decorating. So mixing it up makes it survivable.
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 22, 2014

    I:

    1) Set up the tables

    2) Take the paper off the bookshelves

    3) Start my bulletin boards (start because my kids will help finish them as one of our first activities).

    For me, those are the main things I am setting up. Of course, at the beginning of the year everything needs to be wiped down and cleaned really well as everything has accumulated dust since the end of the school year.
     
  27. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    You know, I keep rearranging my furniture until I get it right. It took me about 5 years to get a basic arrangement that I like, and I still change it around. There have been some years that I move the entire classroom around several times through the school year.

    I always do furniture first. Set up a basic arrangement. Then sit at each space you would teach from and see if you like the arrangement from that angle. I hate it when I can't see over things from my desk or small group table. Walk between everything to make sure you and the kiddos have enough room. If later you think you have a better idea where something might go, that's okay! It's your classroom, so feel free to change it if necessary.

    The next thing I do is clean and organize. This year I emptied my entire closet and organized what I knew would need to go inside the closet. We have a very large closet and we need to leave enough floor space for the whole class to get in and sit down. I've been working on other things in the last week. Putting things away, going through everything and purging, cleaning, etc... All of this work before school starts helps me feel less stressed, and keeps me organized through the school year.

    The last thing I will do is decorate. I have one table set aside with all the things I will put up on the walls when I'm ready.

    If you're a list maker, make a list of all the things you know you need to get finished before open house/1st day of school. Prioritize what is most important. I'm very lucky to have a mom who is willing and able to help me. I make a list of things for her to do, and she works on it at her own pace. If you can enlist help from family, friends, or even the neighbors kids, do it! There are many things that you have to do on your own, but there are many things that you can have help to do.
     
  28. Organic Poppy

    Organic Poppy Rookie

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    Unlike everyone else, furniture is the last thing I do. I leave the desks and chairs stacked in the middle of the room so they are out of the way. I start with cleaning and organizing, then bulletin boards, then decorations, last I put the desks in order. This year I painted my room so I did that first.
     
  29. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Jul 23, 2014

    Typically, I arrange furniture, then put up bulletin boards, then organize (starting with the classroom library), and decorate last. Even though I've only been teaching for 2 years, I've set up my room a lot because I taught year round the first year and had to set up my room 4 times that year! I got very fast and efficient.

    I'm actually going in to work on my room tomorrow. I've been there twice briefly and it's really just been the staring and panicking that FourSquare mentioned. :lol:

    My plan:
    1. Arrange furniture
    2. Get boards up - there are no boards in the room, so this is stressing me out because it should be time consuming. Thankfully tomorrow I have help!
    3. Get the library up
    4. Bring in all the stuff that's not there yet and organize!

    It's going to be a LONG process this year..new school, new grade level...
     
  30. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'll be in a new classroom this coming year and moved everything from my old room at the end of the school year. I took one afternoon and had my students help carry everything down the hall. Because I didn't need to box everything up and unpack, I was able to put things away and organize my cupboards the way I (think) want them in September, so that ppart is already done. Some of my students even organized my class library onto shelves for me!
     
  31. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I should add... typically I do A LOT of visiting before I actually tackle the room.... and then there are lots of snack / visit breaks. :) I love re-connecting with my colleagues.
     
  32. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    My teacher friend taught me a nice trick-and we had permission from the school to do this, not everyone will be able to-we used the same bulletin board backgrounds to begin the year, as to end it. We just covered them with paper to keep the dust off and left them up.

    Also, I had an aversion to leaving things sitting out, so most of my stuff was put away all year anyway. It was a matter of organizing and putting away new supplies, uncovering the bulletin boards and neatening them, and arranging desks and tables. I always left the tables for last, because I would group them in the middle and use them for a big space to spread out my planning supplies.
     
  33. littlemiskinder

    littlemiskinder Rookie

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    I am such a nerd and actually make up blueprints of my classroom on the last few days of school and draw up different options for how I set up for the new school year. I organize my furniture according to that. I usually take a few days to set up my room and get myself organized for open house.
     
  34. k80hardy

    k80hardy Rookie

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    I can become so scatter-brained when it comes to setting up my room. I'll start doing one thing then leave that and start something else once I get an idea, and then I'll scrap that mad move onto something completely different...or stop to chat with my teaching partner. :)
     
  35. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    What's nice for us is that if we leave a "map" of where we want our big furniture, our cleaning staff will place it for us.
     
  36. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I plan on doing what lots of people are saying here. I'm going to start by arranging my desks because I figure that will give me an idea of how much space we truly have in the classroom, and if I'll have 3 groups of 8 or 6 groups of 4. Then I'm going to put my my bulletin boards up and can't forget about the welcoming bulletin board in the hallway. I'm still debating weather or not I want ceiling decorations but that would be the last part of decorating I do.

    Next I will organize manipulatives...I just hope the previous teaching didn't leave it a mess. I am at a new school, but I've already been in my classroom because when I was offered the position, the principal took me to the new room while the former teacher and students were still there. It was super awkward.
     
  37. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    This may sound a bit much, but I made 2 checklists - one for the end-of-the-year stuff to do, and one for the beginning of the year. It includes EVERYTHING I can think of, no matter how small. I often do things on scattered days throughout the summer, so it helps me remember what I have done/bought and prevents me from duplicating or forgetting things.

    I have a lot of bulletin boards, so I try to do most of them in a way I don't have to change the paper or borders throughout the year. For example, one title says Introducing... on the top so at the beginning of the year it can be about the kids and later can be introducing various topics, art techniques, books, etc. The background paper is dark brown with dots on chocolate and other coordinating borders, so there is consistency throughout the room and it isn't so busy.

    I like doing bulletin boards so I save them as a treat after doing
    stuff I don't like to do to revive myself to do something else.
    One of my friends plans her boards at the beginning of the year and put them one on top of the other so she just has to pull them off.
     
  38. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Thank you everyone for your help! I still have quite some time until the beginning of the school year, but I am already getting some teacher anxiety over setting up!

    I think what I will do is just do a basic setup of the desks, because like a lot of people here said it can always be changed later. At least if I do an initial setup, it will feel somewhat accomplished and if I end up liking it then it can stay.

    The biggest part will be organizing what is in storage. I am moving from a reading teacher into the classroom, so I have things from my old room, things from the previous 3rd grade teacher, and then things from the teacher who retired whose room I will be in. It is A LOT. I think I stopped counting boxes at 50, and that is only the things in boxes. The bulk of it is books, so my library will probably take the longest.
     
  39. a.guillermo

    a.guillermo Rookie

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    I had a teacher when I was in high school who NEVER decorated ANYTHING whatsoever. Boring, right? RIGHT. She had the desks facing inwards, so students could not look out the window without turning around. She closed the door so we could not look out the hallway. She never had anything on her board, and stood at the podium, and taught. By literal process of elimination, she became the most interesting part of the room.

    Excellent way to get attention. That's what I've done for years, and I've never been yelled at for not decorating. It's just my way of keeping distractions down to a minimum.

    So to answer the question, it takes me a few hours on the day before school starts to set up the desks. I take the books out of the cabinet and distribute them on the first day. End of Story. Lazy, but effective! :)
     
  40. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I generally started with bulletin boards because getting them up made the room feel more mine. Furniture typically was next but subject to changes. All "stuff" was put on shelves last once I had a feel for where I wanted things. Of course set up never went as smoothly as this.
     
  41. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I would start early if I were in your shoes. Don't feel you must have everything out and perfect on opening day (or night). You can always add things as needed or fill boards with student work. Get the necessities ready to go and worry about the rest as you have time.
     

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