Everyone thinks teachers have it so easy…ten months of teaching and two months off!
Yeah, right! Unless you have been an educator in a school building awaiting the arrival of a homeroom full of students, you truly have no idea what it is like to get a classroom ready for another school year! Many of us are moved grade levels, classrooms, or to different buildings during the summer months, some right before the first day arrives, and the task of organizing an entire room is daunting.
On top of that add the fact that many of us have kiddos that we are juggling while we are tackling this endeavor. Working for 10 months, and relaxing for 2 months is truly a legend. I know my summer months are always filled with preparing for the next year, so here are a few tricks to help you get started decorating your classroom for the new school year…
#1: FABRIC: Use fabric on your bulletin boards. I leave mine up for the year or longer and find that it doesn’t show staple holes, or fade. You can purchase inexpensive fabric at JoAnn Fabrics or Walmart. Teacher discounts are available at Jo-Ann Fabrics, which is perfect for all of us who spend a fortune on supplies for our classrooms.
This is just a piece of red gingham fabric that cost a few dollars. We have to post our CHAMPs procedures, so this is the perfect board to keep this classroom must-have in place.
#2: CLOTHESLINE: Use a clotheline with clothespins for hanging student work, anchor charts, classroom posters, etc. It is inexpensive and requires only hooks to hang.
The clothesline serves a dual purpose…it holds all of our anchor charts for quick reference, as well as blocks some sunlight from our faces during the sunny morning hours.
#3: ART WORK: Use inexpensive IKEA frames to showcase thoughtful messages for your students around the classroom. I downloaded these from: http://www.technologyrocksseriously.com. Click the image to find some of your favorites. Here are a few of mine:
I place these on bookshelves and in windowsills as reminders for my students. The frames were $2 a piece and I printed out the colored copies on my home printer. I have heard of people finding frames at yard sales and spray painting them as well. If you want to reuse and recycle, that is a great plan, but I found this to be easier.
#4: BOGGLE BOARD: Have a spot in your classroom from the very first day where students can find something to work on when they finish early. I find that in those very first days, I am really getting to know each of my new learners and some work much more quickly than others. While I have a library FILLED with books, reading isn’t always a task that my upper elementary kiddos are seasoned to do. I have a Boggle board which for the first few weeks I utilize as an early finisher word work tool!
I found the letters on http://www.technologyrocksseriously.com Click the image to find letters for you! I printed them, took them to Staples to be laminated, backed them with Velcro, change the letters weekly, and I have a permanent spot in my room for students to find an extra task. It is a hit because my students are always on a quest to find the most words.
#5: “NO NAME” BOARD: Back to IKEA for this necessity! I used an IKEA 8X10 frame and attached clothespins with superglue. I created a simple “No Name” design and drilled it into the front of my classroom. Students that don’t get an assignment back can check there to find it, write their name, and have it entered for credit. I find that I only have a few each year that have a hard time writing their name…
While there are about a bazillion other things needing done at this time, room order is key! I can’t stand a disorganized or unwelcoming space. After all it is where we spend a huge portion of our time. I would love to hear about any perfect tips you have to organize your classroom for the upcoming school year!