We have all been there… browsing pinterest to get inspiration to make that BEAUTIFUL classroom theme. We spend so many hours at school so why not be in an environment that nurtures your soul, inspires your students and brings function and routine to your day. Look no further, I will attempt to answer this question in this blog post.
The first thing we need to think about is WHAT we are teaching, HOW and WHY. So start with your teacher binder and get that in order first. Some tabs I like to include are Lesson Plans, Grade Book, Student Data, Student Info, School Info, Daily Schedule, Guided Reading, Field Trip Info, etc. Figure out how your day is structured, curriculum standards and social focus (growth mindset, habits, etc.) The next step is taking stock of your classroom, what size is it, how many students, and what items you already have.
First, create your seating chart. This should be flexible because as you get to know your students you will move them. Have some flexible seating options in your classroom. Decide how you will work through your schedule. I suggest starting the day with a group morning meeting.
That requires you to think of an area perfect for large group. It builds community and is a great way to start the day. Decide what you will do. I suggest that kids sit in assigned spots (you can mark these off with cute duct tape). Then, a greeting, sharing time, calendar math and morning message and finally a group activity. The order of these can change but this is the format for most days. To create this area you will need to find a large rug, calendar, easel, etc.
The next thing I think that is important is the daily flow, decide how you will run your day, how and where your students will be working. Then create your schedule. I know some teachers like to display each and every transition, I like to keep the visual schedule broad simple and broad. So if it says Literacy, this can mean guided reading groups and literacy stations. I don’t break it down further than that so that students don’t compartmentalize their learning and it feels holistic. You can read more about my schedule here.
Once our schedule is set up, you know you will need to figure out how you will teach literacy, guided reading groups, writers workshop, math workshop, etc. You will think about these after settling your schedule and space.