Primary Chalkboard: 10 Things to Do BEFORE You Set Up Your Classroom

10 Things to Do BEFORE You Set Up Your Classroom



Hey, there, friends! It's Laura from Peace, Love, and First Grade!

If it's summer vacation for you, enjoy! 
If not, live each day to the fullest and smile because it happened!

I'm here today to talk about getting your classroom ready for a makeover. 
Now, this is NOT my classroom reveal. 
That will come as I have time to get in my room. 
I'm excited to share that with you on my blog later this month!
Today is all about getting ready to set up your room!

Let me preface this by saying, 
I'm not trying to pressure anyone into decoration madness,
but I do believe a happy classroom is one that functions efficiently,
 and is well organized and attractive. 

This summer I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. 
Marie is a proponent of getting your house in order and keeping it in order. 
She suggests keeping only the items in your home that bring you joy and letting go of the rest.

I think we can apply the same principle to the classroom. 
Keep what sparks joy in you and let go of the rest.

ARE YOU READY TO SEE MY MESS? 
Here you go!
Want more? 
The good news is...it doesn't look that this anymore!
So, are you ready to get your classroom in order?


Great! But remember-this is not a one day job.
I like to think of it as ten days.
Already started school?
Take one task a week for the first ten weeks.


Day 1) Clean out your children's literature. 
Keep only the books that bring you and your kiddos joy!
I know. 
I LOVE children's books, too, but let's face it. 

Not all books are created equally. 
It's okay to let go of a book. 
DON'T THROW IT OUT. 
Pass it on to someone who will find joy in it.

You'll be amazed at how much room this gives you AND you'll know what you have when you need something.

Day 2) Clean out your Math manipulatives! 
You don't need 6 bins of pattern blocks or 48 Judy clocks.
Keep what you need and pass the rest on to someone else. 
It's okay.

Day 3) Clean out your art supplies. 
If you haven't used those foam Easter bunnies in the last 3 years, get rid of them. 
Pass on the joy to someone else! No hoarding!

Day 4) Clean out your office supplies. 
Look at each one. 
If no joy comes from having them and they serve no purpose, 
pass them on to someone else or donate them. 
It's a good feeling!

Day 5) Clean out board games, puzzles, and other activities. 
If you don't use them, someone else can. 
If Czechoslovakia is still on your globe...you get it.
Share your treasures.

Day 6) Do I dare say it...Clean out your paper. 
Oh, it's tough! I know it is. I've done it. But the feeling is just so great! 
If you haven't used it or it turns your fingers purple...you don't need it.
Recycle that paper!

Day 7) Decide how you will store supplies.
Once you decide what manipulatives and supplies you are going to keep, choose how you are going to store them. 
Then label your supplies. 
Labeling makes supplies easier to find for students and other adults who may visit. 

NOW-
The next two may not be popular, but I'm going with them.

Day 8) Get rid of your filing cabinet OR scale down to a smaller one.
The more room you have for stuff, the more stuff you'll acquire.
If there's no where to put the stuff, you won't be as likely to hold onto it.

Day 9) Get rid of your teacher desk OR scale down to a smaller one.
You can do it! I did and I had a lot of stuff in mine, too.
I never sat there (not even after school), and it took up a great deal of space. 
Now, that space is used by my first graders, and I don't miss my desk one bit!
I use an over-the-door shoe organizer for my office supplies. 
Space saver!

Day 10) Plan your classroom design.
Once the clutter is removed and you are ready to set up your room,
 go online and play around with a classroom set-up tool. 
You can design your whole room as many times as you like.
You'll need your room measurements for this.

Here are a few good ones:



This is the one I use. 


Now you are ready to think decor! 

Let me tell you, if I can do it, you can do it?
Did you see my mess above?
It doesn't look like that anymore.

This week, I can get in my building to work and I plan to make the most of it. 
Pics to come on my blog!
Happy Tuesday!!


Don't forget! We're blogging every day this month at Primary Chalkboard! 




37 comments:

  1. Laura I want to see more pictures!!!!!!!

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    1. I'm working on it this week, Katie! Can't get in the building until Thursday...It's making me nuts!!
      XO
      Laura

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  2. The "48 Judy clocks" made me laugh out loud! I don't have quite that many, but they do seem to accumulate, don't they?! I'm retiring at the end of the coming school year, and I know I'm going to have to do some serious thinning all.through.the.year. I'll have lots of joy to share after 26 years of teaching! I think some of your tips will help me get started....Thanks!

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    1. Hi, Carla! Congratulations to you!! You will have SO MUCh joy to share!! Seriously, Judy clocks seem to multiply, don't they?? I hope this post will help you get ready to retire. I plan to add more pics as soon as I can get in my room!
      Happy Summer!
      Laura

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  3. I just got rid of my desk for next year and replaced it with a big table that I can use for meeting with small groups. We'll see how it goes. I have to admit that I never sat at my desk except during snack time.

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    1. You will love it, Elke!! I don't miss my desk one bit! I never realized how much space I was using! Just make sure you have a place for all your "stuff" and you'll be set!
      Have a great week!
      Laura

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    2. I got rid of mine this school year and just use my small group table. It took some getting used to but it creates so much more space without it!

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    3. I got rid of mine this school year and just use my small group table. It took some getting used to but it creates so much more space without it!

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  4. Great tips!! A teacher friend asked me if I wanted a globe.... I totally look to see if it had Czechoslovakia on it! It didn't so I gladly accepted it!!
    Smiles, Sarah
    Tales of Teaching with Tech

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    1. Hahahaha! That's funny, Sarah! The stuff that hangs around the school is nuts! Can't stand to throw things out!! I'm glad you found one that works!! Happy Summer!
      Laura

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  5. Getting rid of my teacher desk was huge! I'm so glad it's gone! This year I moved to student tables rather than desks, too! I'm SO excited about it! I def. want to see if I can figure out how to get rid of my filing cabinets! Or at least one of them! I also need to focus on tips 3 and 4! Most of the rest I've done at the end of last year or the year before! Wahoo!

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    1. I agree, Erika! Letting go of my desk was huge for me, too! Once the desk was gone, it wasn't so difficult to give up the filing cabinet. Good for you for simplifying! I love it!!
      Good luck to you!!
      Laura

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  6. Thanks for the advice and inspiration! I can't wait to get started in my room. D. Shaver

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    1. Yay, Darla! Glad to hear the post was helpful! If you take it slowly and go step by step, it really works! I'm so glad you stopped by! Enjoy the rest of your summer!!
      Laura

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  7. Where can I find the blog from the 3rd of July? I'm going to be a new teacher this August and I need all the tips I can get. Thank you for the floor planning links. I'll be sure to use those.

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    1. Hi, Kireidesu! Good for you for searching out tips for new teachers!
      To find the July 3rd post: Look on the sidebar under the heading "Chalkdust" then click on "July."
      The link you are looking for is titled, "Back to School Tips and Ideas for New Teachers."
      Good luck to you this year!!
      Laura

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    1. Thank you, my friend!! Cleaning out and organizing has been so therapeutic for me!!! I just want to share with the world now! Ha!! Hope you are enjoying your trip!!
      XO
      Laura

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  9. I loved the tidying up book. I got rid of things last year and plan to get rid of more once j get into my classroom! Thanks for the tips.

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    1. Isn't it the greatest?? That book really made me take a hard look at what I was holding onto, and the end result makes me happy! Good luck cleaning! Enjoy your last days of summer!!
      Laura

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    2. I also read that book this summer, and I have already spent one day in my classroom discarding/sharing used materials. When I get back to my room on Thursday, I plan to do more. I am blessed with a GREAT husband who is willing to go with me and help me. (He is a retired teacher, so he understands!) Enjoyed your post!

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    3. Hi, Mary! Wasn't that a great book? It made me want to rush to school and clean out! How wonderful to have a husband who understands and takes part!! Bless him!!
      Happy Cleaning!!
      Laura

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  10. I loved reading this post. It came at such a great time! I have been wanting to organize and throw away years of teaching stuff. I just have to remember that if something doesn't bring me joy, throw it out or give it away. Thanks again!

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    1. Absolutely, Andrea! Once you think about it, it makes such great sense! I had SO many children's books, and many of them just weren't what I wanted to use with my kiddos! It felt great to pass them on to someone else! Good luck organizing! I'm so glad you stopped by!
      Laura

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  11. OMG!!! It's like you were speaking into my teacher soul!! Definitely all things I should have started the year with every year!

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    1. Ha, Naomi!! How great is it that we get to start over each year??!! Thank goodness! Otherwise, I'd be living in chaos!! I love your sweet teacher soul, my friend!!
      XO
      Laura

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  12. I just organized several of my cabinets and it felt GREAT getting rid of so many things I haven't used!

    Brittany
    Shakin' it up with Mrs. Shannon

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    1. Don't you love that feeling, Brittany?? Good for you for getting it done!! Makes me want to keep cleaning!! I just need about 2 more weeks!
      Have a great week!
      Laura

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  13. Love your posts! I just changed my blog that you were following from crazyaboutsecond to fitandfunin3rd, (I am moving up thisyear!) come check out my new blog and refollow to see my latest posts!
    Thanks!!

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  14. I am definitely pinning this! I just spent 2days moving an accumulation of too many years Speech/Language materials! I was blessed with a full size classroom, but 90% of my materials is sitting along the walls! A hot mess for sure! Hopefully, I can achieve some kind of order before kiddos come back Aug. 10! But I'm definitely going to use these tips to weed through all this stuff! Thanks for the great post!

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  15. Great ideas here! I never new those classroom design sites existed! I have been thinking about getting rid of my teacher desk - I never use it, and I have no idea what I even have in it! Thanks for posting!

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  16. My Kinder bestie and I both moved up to different grades. We left our rooms clean and organized. She inherited a messy and cluttered room and I got a empty room! There should be a rule on how to leave your room when moving!

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  17. These are the best ideas which will further insist other students to get immediately followed down by such piece elements and hopefully it would be too easy for them in the near future. buy thesis online

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  18. I just ran across your blog today. I had to laugh while I was reading this. This is soooo what I need to do. I have taught for 36 years and hold on to many things because I just might need that! I am going to get into my classroom this summer and use some of your ideas. Thanks

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  19. Czech! Now, if you teach both WW1 and WW2, you need that because it shows where that country used to be! I had to laugh...great ideas. Thank you for sharing...ran across this on pintrest!

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  20. I feel like I am on the right track with organization and decluttering! I got rid of two 5-drawer file cabinets and my teacher desk about 6 years ago. Went to work tables instead of student desks...now use community supplies, bins, and sterlite drawer units (in white). I also pulled my classroom together with a focused color scheme-black, royal blue, and white. I use lamps to 'soften' the room. All of your tips are efficient and effective!!

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  21. I would just say to get a good job and really very nice article published here

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