Setting Up a New Classroom – Part 3

Categories: Classroom Setup

It’s DONE.

I feel like I’ve completed a marathon! This beast of a room is finally finished, and I have to say I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. This summer I’ve walked you through my thought process and strategy for my classroom as I set up a new space. You can check out where I started in Part 1, and where I was once I settled on a furniture set up and unpacked some boxes in Part 2. While the final touches to my classroom may just look like decorations, there is thought and intention behind everything I placed on the walls in in my room.

This space will be used for sensory play and exploration. The cabinet is filled with sensory supports students may need throughout the day. I wanted this space to be a positive one, where it reminded students of what they CAN do. I brainstormed how to tie this to the  I Can statements that my administration requires to be used. Since I have a wide range of learners and skills, I made individual I Can boards for each student. As they master an academic IEP goal, I’ll add a banner to their airplane on the wall that names the skill. This subtle switch of focusing on what students can do is a powerful one, for both students and staff. The bold statement that I believe the sky is the limit for my student sets the tone for my classroom and my high expectation for my students, which carries over to my staff.
This gigantic bulletin board holds social, emotional and independent functioning goals for students. As they achieve their goals, they add a start to their goal chart, showing it completed. It’s a great reminder for staff and admin the skills we are working on, while being a celebration of newly mastered skills.
This para prep zone will be so useful for my team! Having a spot dedicated to in-progress projects is especially helpful when you run a busy classroom. We often find ourselves starting and stopping a project before it is finished. Having a place to keep it safe while we are working on it is amazing.
My centers are going to look different this year – rather than having students and staff rotate, carts loaded with supplies will rotate. This will help keep things more COVID safe. In addition, we loaded the cart up with disinfecting supplies for manipulatives and hand sanitizer for students.
This area is right by the classroom entrance. I have student visuals ready to use in a file holder on the wall. These include how to line up, how to wait, and how to pack/unpack. I have a related service log, gloves, and hand sanitizer for multitude of staff that enter my room as well.
Probably my favorite view of my classroom, this color-coded student area brings me pure joy. I personally loved an organized space. In our jobs being organized is a must. If you aren’t, you’ll lose teaching time, attention, and control. Your staff will be frustrated and they won’t be able to use their time efficiently. If you are some one who struggles fitting things in, check your organization first. You’d be shocked how many minutes you can cut out before an activity if you have everything at your fingertips and organized. My students all have a color and all of their supplies are color coded. I talk more about color coding here. This keeps everything from our Leveled Daily Curriculums to our supplies ready to go.

Ever Changing

The best thing about classrooms is that they are supposed to evolved with the needs of your room. They aren’t stagnant. Your room shouldn’t be set up the same each year. Rather they should grow and change with your learners, and as you grow and learn as a teacher. Decor can go beyond cute things on the wall to meaningful goals and celebrations of student success. No matter how you set up your classroom, if you do it with intention; focused on student and staff needs and you’ll find a success in your space.

Jen Koenig, B.S, M.Ed., LBS1
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  1. Can we get a closer look at your goal board? I love that idea and have wanted to do it this year, but not exactly sure how… so far it’s just the words.

    • It just has the words “my goal” and images of what their goal is. I try for one math, one ela, one written expression/fine motor and one independent functioning or behavior goal for each student.


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