Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Setting Up Your Classroom for the First Day of School


The first day of class is fast approaching which always brings with it that feeling of panic that you need to have your classroom perfectly ready to welcome your students. I have found that while you need certain things ready for the first day, a calm yet enthusiastic welcome is what the students enjoy the most!  
Desks

Before school starts, I arrange the desks into groups of four, five or six tables, depending on classroom size or the optimal size for specific activities such as reading groups.

On the first day I ask the students to choose where they want to sit so they feel comfortable. They get to remain in these seats for the first week while I observe the class dynamics and then I make adjustments where needed.  

I change the seating arrangements at least monthly throughout the year to coincide with changing reading groups and to ensure a cooperative and calming atmosphere.

Student Materials

I have one central location in the classroom for all student materials.

There is one bin each of rulers, glue sticks and scissors and enough bins for each group of colored pencils and markers. These get distributed when needed.  

HANDY TIP!!

Have one bin for sharpened pencils and one bin for pencils that need sharpening, which is labelled “pencil exchange”. This eliminates lineups at the pencil sharpener and broken electric sharpeners.  The task of sharpening pencils becomes one of the student jobs.

I have one larger bin for each main subject area such as math, science/social studies, music etc. that are large enough to hold all my students duo tangs.  

For students language materials, I supply a separate file folder, which I refer to as literature box, for each student that is labelled with name and student number.  These file folders are used only for language materials such as reading and writing.  See my Blog 7 Tips for the First Day Back to School for an explanation of student numbers and literature boxes.

Bulletin Boards

For the first day, I limit classroom displays to only those charts that will be discussed that day.  These charts or displays include the following:

Washroom Pass Cards
A Washroom Chart with a pocket for each student with their name displayed.  I use this for keeping track of who is in the washroom and controlling excessive washroom use. See my Blog 7 Tips for the First Day Back to School for a detailed explanation.  You can get my free washroom pass cards at the following link  Washroom Pass Cards at my TeachersPayTeachers store, Laurie's Classroom.

A Behavior Chart which I use to track each student’s appropriate behavior.   This chart has a pocket for every student with their number. See my Blog on Behavior Management for an explanation.

A Classroom Jobs Pocket Chart that displays the jobs for the classroom with a space large enough for two students names for each job. I have enough jobs so that everyone has a job for the week.

The jobs that I assign to students are: attendance; coat rack (make sure all belongings are off the floor); library (organize our class library ); clean up (check that there are no pencils, erasers or papers on the floor at the end of the day); chairs (stack chairs); washroom sticks (remove sticks at the end of the day); calendar (change date); agenda (distribute agenda to students); Daily 5 (change the groups for the next day); pencil sharpening; jobs (change the names weekly); collector (gather papers and duo tangs); and deliverer (pass out paper and duo tangs to students).

The names get rotated weekly. If you have an odd number of students, make one job a single person job.

A Daily Five Pocket Chart that has the centers listed and space for the names of the groups. See my Blog Guide to Daily 5 for details on my approach.  

A Homework Chart.  On a white board or black board, I square off a section using electrical tape that is labelled HOMEWORK. This is where I write the day’s work and any notes or reminders for parents.

All of my other bulletin boards for individual subjects such as math, reading, writing etc. are left blank.  I feel that information for these boards needs to be displayed as the lessons are being taught. This way, students understand what is being displayed and will remember that it is there. 
Otherwise the wall material that is displayed without the student’s involvement becomes wallpaper. 

I also find that too many displays become distracting and over stimulating. Students need to be able to easily find information to reduce frustration and build confidence.

It may sound like a lot of preparation but the bins and pocket charts can be used from year to year which reduces the amount of yearly preparation.

Good luck with setting up your classroom!

Please visit my TpT store, Laurie's Classroom, to check out all of my teaching products and free materials.   

Please check out my other Blogs at Laurie's Classroom Blogs and stay tuned for my next Blog. 


Happy teaching.


Laurie







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