Your Ultimate Classroom Prep Checklist for the New School Year
It’s fast approaching the new school year, so get your classroom ready! The pandemic has changed the way that teachers return to school. While some teachers may be able to work remotely, this article is designed for those who are returning to the classroom. This 6-step classroom checklist is easy to follow and includes some great products that will make your learning space safe and ready for school year.
Step 1: Clean up!
A classroom experiences a lot wear and tear every year. It’s time to clean up the classroom after the summer. Although your school’s custodians may have done an excellent job cleaning the floors, and maybe even wiping down the boards on the boards, teachers often need to clean the rooms. Grab a spray bottle of cleaning solution and clean all surfaces in the classroom. Wipe down your bookshelves and desk to make everything sparkle before you begin unpacking and setting up. To prevent deadly viruses from spreading, keep a few extra cleaning wipes and bottles on hand.
HTML3_ Products we recommend:
- Beat the germs in your classroom with Clorox(r), Disinfecting Wipes
- Clean and free from harsh chemicals: Honest Company Grapefruit Multisurface Spray
- Stain and scratch removal: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning pads
- Get your whiteboards sparkling with EXPO(r), 22 oz Dry-Erase Surface Cleaner
ScotchBrite 3-in-1 microfiber cloth
Step 2: Plan your classroom layout
Take a seat, take a look around, and think about the best layout for your classroom. To create a learning environment that is effective, think about how your students will use the space. Also, consider how desks, chairs and tables can be arranged.
COVID-19 can spread to communal areas so make sure your classroom is virus-safe. To avoid students passing each other, arrange the classroom so that they are not in direct contact. You can have one row for traveling in one direction and another row for traveling in the opposite direction.
What spaces do you require or want to create Here are some suggestions:
- Alternative workspace
- Relax zone
- Collaborative learning area
- Reading zone
- Safe Space
- Wrap up area
For more information, see 12 Ways To Upgrade Your Classroom Design.
Resources and ideas
- Classroom architect tool
- Pinterest classroom design, organization board
- Research on classroom seating arrangements
- Scholastic Classroom Set-up App
Step 3 – Create your classroom procedures
Let’s now focus on the procedures after you have reviewed your layout and design.
Now is the time to start thinking about:
- Where can students find materials?
- What will it take for students to hand in their work?
- Hall passes to be kept where?
Establishing classroom expectations and procedures at the start of the school year, and keeping them consistent, allows students and teachers to concentrate on learning. These are just a few ideas to help you get started.
HTML3_ Ideas for classroom procedures and systems
- Dismissal checklist
- Marker, pen organization
- Noise meter
- No-name Board
- Pocket Chart
- SEL “Trash Your Troubles”, bin
- Table supplies storage
Classroom procedures that are COVID-aware
- HealthyChildren.org COVID suggestions
- Minnesota’s COVID-19 Guidance to Schools and Child Care Programs
Step 4 – Get visual
The research shows that while opinions vary on whether classroom decorations aid or hinder learning, experts agree that classroom design should encourage learning and not distract from it. Consider the following three Cs when designing visuals for your classroom: Create a calm environment, clean,, and comfortable space for students. Decor choices that are celebratory, offer support, welcome messages and refer to what’s learned are great.
Ideas for classroom visuals
- Calming lighting
- Inspiration and celebration
- Classroom photobooth
- Door decor
- Comfortable, flexible seating that isn’t too distracting
- Uncluttered, simple design
Step 5 – Get supplies and organize
Once your classroom layout is complete, you can start organizing your last-minute shopping. What do to be a successful teacher? You and your students will both use the space. Create your own teacher systems to help you stay organized throughout the school year.
- Custom teacher stamps
- Drawer cart decals
- Self-care in the real world
- Really affordable teacher t-shirts
- Simple paper storage
- Teacher Binder
- Teacher desk organizers
PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) Gear
- N95 Face Mask or Face Shield
- Hand soap container
- Safety glasses
You can also find great stores offering teacher discounts.
Step 6: Take a deep breath!
You’ve prepared your school environment to make the new school year a success. Be flexible, because there is no such thing as perfect. A Pinterest board with perfect images is not a good way to teach. You can always find creative and new ways to make it work if something isn’t working as you had hoped.
Take a deep, slow breath and take a look around the room. It is possible to imagine your students inside it.