This week in our classrooms: Set Up

Because I’ve never taught in the same room or even in the same grade twice, classroom setup always feels like a crap shoot. Maybe it’ll work great and inspire kids to work hard and collaborate. Maybe it’ll be garbage and I’ll have to spend my whole weekend changing everything.

This year I’m feeling OK about things so far, but it’s still anybody’s guess as to how long it’ll last before it devolves into chaos and frustration because no one is using my classroom library sign out sheet.


A Calendar and daily schedule are critical to functioning as a class. It eliminates a lot of stress for both myself and my students and they don’t ask me what we’re doing now every 30 seconds. I do lunch with students twice weekly to try and build my relationship with each student and make sure we actually get a chance to hang out in a pleasant environment.


I rarely make my students work at their desks, so clipboards are crucial!

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My library is still in pretty good shape, but I’m sure it’ll become a fast finisher ‘project’.


This is my 7th classroom set up – in 7 different schools. It is also my first time teaching grade 6. So I really don’t know what will work and what won’t – but I do have some things I like to do, no matter the grade level.


I always put up our schedule for the day and I have a calendar that we refer to – this helps keep us all on track. I do not use agendas in Middle School. Instead I show them a variety of options and they can choose what works for them. I do put reminders on the board.

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I keep an area on my board to put up our learning goals and success criteria for our work that day. Someones we co-create one, or the other, or both. Sometimes I have it up on the board when they come in. We always discuss it briefly, usually at the beginning of the day.


Last year, I started calling it “alternative lighting” – because things with fancy names are approved more readily. I like to use a variety of lights in my room – to minimize overhead light use. I find them flickery, buzzy and too harsh. I do make sure that my room is well lit, but with different light sources.


I have one supply area. This is where students can find most of the supplies they’ll need for any given task. Fingers crossed that it continues to look this tidy!


This clipboard wall was already set up when I entered the classroom this year. It only has 16 clipboards though, and I have 28 kids. I haven’t quite decided what I want to use it for – but currently, it is where I am storing extras of all of the forms/info sheets/paperwork that has been sent home. That way, kids can (ideally) help themselves if they need a new one.

I’m not sure how long this will last, and after the first week I’m sure to change it all. For now though – I’m hoping we can keep a small semblance of order.


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