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How to Set Up Your Classroom

Learn how to set up your classroom from education consultant Grace Dearborn in this Howcast video.


How to set up your classroom? Let's talk about walls and chairs. With chairs, on the first day of school, you probably want to have them set up in rows, especially if you are a new teacher. As you progress in years to get more comfortable with having kids sitting in groups and in pairs then that's fine too. Rows, though, is the easiest too to control as far as discipline is related. And so, if you are first year and you are nervous about behaviors that might be coming along the road, you might want to set them up in rows to begin. That doesn't mean that you won't have them move into pairs and groups and out for different activities. It just means that the default setting will be the rows. Another thing to know about setting up the classroom, as far as where the desks go, is you want to set it up so that there are some natural aisles or space for you to move between and among the desks. With rows though, you should be able to get up and through each of those rows but you also, maybe, want some room along the edges and along the back because you want to be able to get within three feet, which is basically one arm length, three feet of every kid every hour at least once.

This helps keep kids who are sitting further away from you or further away from where you generally do instruction, an opportunity to be near you and to stay focused and on task and for you to be checking in with them. As far as walls are concerned, you don't want to have every inch of your wall space set up with stuff on it on the first days of school. Maybe you have a bulletin board or something ready, so there is a color on it, there is border around it but there is nothing there yet. So as the year progresses and student work is created, you can add those things to those places but you definitely want to think of your walls as a graphic design project. You don't want to just vomit a whole bunch of stuff up on to the walls because too much visual stimulation is actually just as bad as not enough visual stimulation, as far as engaging the brain is concerned. So have some white space, have some blank spots ready to put student work up as the year progresses and have some things up there that might help the students, either content wise or feel more comfortable in the classroom but find a nice balance inside of that.

So, they are a couple of ideas for how to set up your classroom.

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