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Teaching in a Classroom

How to Prepare Your Classroom for the First Day of School

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I started at four different schools in the span of eight years. For me it was new school, new grade, and new curriculum each time. In that time, I learned a great deal about getting organized when everything is new.

Thinking about the first day of school can leave new teachers feeling like they don’t know where to start. There are materials to organize, curriculum to prepare, bulletin boards to decorate, and a thousand other details. But by systematically approaching the tasks related to preparing your classroom for the first day of school, it is possible to be ready for the first day and not end up exhausted!

Here is my number one tip and four lists I’ve compiled that will get you started with organizing your classroom. Use these lists as a launching point and then fill in more information that is relevant to your particular situation. I’ll also share some of my favorite back to school products.

Number One Tip: Write Everything Down Immediately

One of the most important steps is to write everything down immediately. Any time a task or question comes to mind, write it down. Keep a notebook or planner on your desk and write everything in the same place. Don’t trust it to memory because there are too many things to keep track of during the hectic days before school starts.

Take five seconds as soon as it comes to mind and write it down. By writing it down, it frees up mental space for other more important tasks than remembering five things to buy at the dollar store and three questions to ask the administrator.

Organize Your Paperwork

The first step is organizing your paperwork. Collect all the needed materials and supplies at once and get it done. This will include:

  • Enter names in gradebook and attendance book/software
  • Organize student portfolios
  • Write a welcome letter
  • Prepare a substitute teacher folder

Organize Curriculum Materials and Lesson Plans

Unpack and collect all textbooks, workbooks, reading materials, math manipulatives, science materials, etc. Decide how to store them in the most appropriate place for how they will be used.

Other curriculum tasks include:

Prepare an Attractive and Welcoming Classroom Environment

Students enjoy a nicely organized and decorated classroom. When a teacher puts effort into the appearance of the classroom, it tells the students that she believes they are important enough to give them a pleasant place to be each day. At the same time, don’t overdo it. Some kids in your class will be overwhelmed and distracted with too much clutter on the walls.

When preparing the classroom, remember to:

  • Determine the best way to arrange students desks and location of teacher desk.
  • Decide on student desk nametags and either put on desks or prepare for students to make.
  • Put up informative and engaging bulletin boards.
  • Set up specific areas such as reading corner, workshop centers, and displays.
  • Set up calendar and circle time area, if necessary.
  • Post classroom rules and consequences.
  • Post daily schedule and specials schedule.
  • Determine classroom jobs and post information.
  • Prepare any materials related to buses, walking, etc.

Purchase and Organize Classroom Supplies

Supplies can vary greatly from school to school and grade to grade. However, most teachers will want at least the basics on hand the first day. These will include:

Preparing a classroom for the first time is both exciting and overwhelming for a new teacher. I know! I have done it more than once! Here are some additional posts I’ve written to help and encourage new teachers!

And don’t forget to check out some of the products I’ve created that I wish I would have had when I started teaching!

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How to Prepare Your Classroom for the First Day of School - Back to School Prep Series Pins


Sallie-Schaaf-Borrink-060313-B-250x250I'm Sallie, teacher by training and now homeschooling mom of Caroline. My passion is to provide products, encouragement, and information that helps others discover and do what works with their children. I also write about living a cozy life as a highly introverted person. Welcome! ♥

My Gift to You!

“We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those keeping up with the crowd.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

“After Laura and Mary had washed and wiped the dishes, swept the floor, made their bed, and dusted, they settled down with their books. But the house was so cozy and pretty that Laura kept looking up at it.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek

“They were cosy and comfortable in their little house made of logs, with the snow drifted around it and the wind crying because it could not get in by the fire.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House in the Big Woods


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