Sunday, July 13, 2014

5 Quick Tips for Setting Up the Classroom

As you get ready for a new school year, a few quick tips can help to make your life a bit easier for the coming year.

#1  Use Plenty of Baskets

Baskets can serve two purposes...they contain items which make them transportable, and they can add a homey feel to an otherwise sterile classroom.  Wicker baskets work well for storing books, folders, and supplies.  Michael's regularly has sales on wicker baskets.  Buy a few every year to build up your supply.

#2  Label Everything!

Take time to label all of the baskets and bookcases in the room.  It creates a sense of organization, students know exactly where to find things, and ...more importantly...where to return things.  Be consistent with the size and style of the labels for a more unformed look.  Colored index cards covered in clear packing tape works well and keeps labels clean.

#3 Organize Bulletin Board Letters
Nothing is more frustrating when trying to build a bulletin board display than hunting, separating and cutting letters.  I took a small file box and added labels to the tabs and sorted all of my letters, numbers, and symbols. I have about 6 different packs of letters inside and I still have plenty of room for more.   It is a bit time consuming at first, but it will make your life so much easier.  (I had a few students work on this for me at the end of the school year.)  Now I can easily locate the letters that I need and see what styles I have available in a particular letter at a glance.  I bought this accordion file box at staples.

#4  Managing Extra Copies
If you are like me, I always either have too many copies or cannot find my extra copies when I need them.  I finally found a system that worked for me.  I got a large binder and a crate.  I filled the binder with sheet protectors and numbered them.  I filled the crate with hanging files and numbered the tabs.   Now when I have extra copies, I place 1 copy into the sheet protector and the rest of the copies in the corresponding hanging file.  Students can easily find the exact copy they need when they return from an absence or have misplaced their original one.

#5  Have a Folder for Each Day of the Week 
Honestly, I have never planned so well that I have every thing that I need for a full week ahead of time.  However, I may make some copies ahead of time that I know I will use on a certain day. Or, If I run out of time in my lesson, I can place the unfinished activities in the next day's folder.  If you are together enough to forward plan for a full week, in each folder you can have a copy of your lesson plan, necessary handouts, a list of conferences that you would like to have, homework sheets, notes and anything you would like to remember for a particular day.

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