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Diversion from Covid... What are the top tips for setting up my first classroom?

(13 Posts)
StrumpersPlunkett Sun 24-May-20 22:34:40

I am very lucky to have my first teaching job for September.
It is in a larger than average primary school and I will be teaching year 1.
I look longingly at the Instagram/pinterest classrooms but I am not as creative as these people. What do I actually need? What can I be getting ahead with over the summer?
Looking forward to hearing tips.

OP’s posts: |
careerchange456 Sun 24-May-20 22:57:07

A Year 1 classroom will be predominantly determined by how much play based learning the school goes in for. After the current academic year, next year's Year 1s are likely to be in need of play more than ever before.

So my advice would be to find out how the school manages transition from EYFS to KS1 and how the plan to manage a year 1 class who have missed out on such a huge chunk of their reception year. Then you will have a better idea what the expectation of your classroom is and what you will need in it.

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 25-May-20 10:51:16

Thank you. I realise it will still be v different to ‘normal’ this September.

OP’s posts: |
pfrench Mon 25-May-20 13:03:37

Meanwhile, stop looking at pinterest!!

I started off all very fabricy, spent loads of time making really fancy displays. This isn't really how things are anymore. I read a lot of stuff on dual coding and how to make displays that are useful.

Unless I'm doing a long term display in a corridor or something, I just put up plain backing paper and plain straight edged border. I make all walls working walls, and will write all over the backing paper in a marker. I put key vocabulary up and sounds for phonics, in maths I put worked examples on flip chart paper. There are expectations at my school regard learning journeys being written up, but I literally write them on A4 and stick them up - high, out of the kid's eyeline. That stuff is for SLT, not for me or the children.

I put childrens work up on lines across the back of the room so it's not in their eyeline when we're actually working, but is still there. Means it doesn't need backing and can be changed quickly.

In terms of this Setpember and year 1 though, I'd wait and see what the school suggests.

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 25-May-20 19:53:26

✅ thanks.

OP’s posts: |
reefedsail Tue 26-May-20 07:08:45

My advice would be systems! One tip from the inside would be that people do, mostly subconsciously, make judgements about whether you are 'coping' from how tidy and organised your classroom is.

Think about how you will store/ give out/ take in exercise books, pencils, reading books, water bottles, art stuff etc. Make sure you have great storage for any toys the class have and really train THEM to keep it organised. Likewise the cloakroom.

I agree with pfrench that (hopefully) many schools are moving away from the jungle of brightly-coloured dangly-shit. If I walk into a classroom I'd expect to be able to work out what they children were learning that week from the walls- not what the teacher last fancied in IKEA.

careerchange456 Tue 26-May-20 07:33:16

I agree that bright colours are out of fashion because of the evidence that they're too over stimulating for children.

ABC Does is great on EYFS and Year 1 and always write quite a bit about displays.

pfrench Tue 26-May-20 08:37:48

Oh, throw paperwork you haven't used out at the end of every day, stick work in during every lesson, no pending piles. Clear the decks completely. Otherwise you end up with a paper nest of crap.

StrumpersPlunkett Tue 26-May-20 10:15:59

These are fab. Thanks.
I was hoping to use a cycle of helping hands to keep pencils sharpened, cloakrooms tidy and handing out/in stuff. One of my previous mentors just had it on an alphabetical rotation. You are allowed to do show and tell on your helping day.
Is this something that I will be able to make work?

OP’s posts: |
careerchange456 Tue 26-May-20 16:52:28

I think it depends on your style. Lots of people do use helpers. I used to but don't any more. I prefer a bit more collective responsibility for tidying I suppose.

Things that work for me in Year 1 (but may not for you or anybody else):
• Mark as you go around the class as much as possible. Train any TAs that you may be lucky enough to have to mark as well.
• Train the kids to leave their books open on the page they have worked on so you don't have to find their work.
• Model how to play with provision (lots of modelling!) but also how to tidy it. Label everything well and don't accept them not putting it back where it is supposed to be.
• On tables where they will be working, pencil tubs one between two with a lid rather than a central one that always ends up on the floor or caught in the middle of a fight over it! I train mine to know what should be in their pot and to restock if it's not got the right things in it.
• Two pots of pencils at the front of the classroom labelled Sharp and Blunt. They put the blunt pencil in that box and take a sharp one to continue working. No faffing with sharpeners when they're supposed to be working!
• Train then from day 1 how to change their own reading books. This means the books have to be in a really clear order to start with and maintained in that order though!

There's loads more but the PP is right that it's all about systems. When you're in your classroom, walk through the whole day - how will they come in? Where will they go first? How they will put their stuff away? etc etc. Have a system for everything and train them up from the start.

Useruseruserusee Tue 26-May-20 17:40:51

Congratulations on your job OP! Year 1 are lovely, although I imagine things will be a bit different this year. If you aren’t familiar with EYFS, now would be a good time to look into this. I know at my school at least we will be setting up the Year 1 classrooms to mirror what is in reception now and we will continue with the EYFS curriculum for the first half term. Then we will review and see if the children are ready to move on.

With display, I like to keep things quite simple and plain and then make the displays with the children in September. I try to avoid visual overload as well.

StrumpersPlunkett Thu 28-May-20 07:14:03

Awesome thanks. Loving the blunt sharps tip.
I am going to be working in reception from Monday with the class that will become my year 1’s. I love that the head already thought that through!

OP’s posts: |
DreamingofBrie Thu 28-May-20 19:43:01

Congratulations on your job, OP!

I'm not a primary teacher, but I remember dd's classroom had a sticky row underneath the whiteboard, where the order of the day was put, in pictures, so phonics, break, maths, lunch, topic (or something like that). It gave the children security and routine, the teacher said.

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