First year teachers have a lot to consider when setting up their classroom. The physical placement of materials, bins, coat hooks, and name tags is important because it plays a huge role in classroom management. Transitions are the toughest times to manage, so this list should provide some ideas to make them smoother. Some of these things you would never have thought you might need! Here is my top 10 must-haves for classroom management, based on my experiences in a few different schools.
#10 – Attendance board
In the morning, students can place their name tag into the correct category (Here, Absent, Leaving Early, etc.). Absent students remain in the absent column, making your attendance sheet easy to fill out quickly.
#9 – Genre labels for your class library
When it’s time for silent reading, students will be able to choose a book faster and spend less time in the library, which makes the transition from the previous activity smoother. You might even let students decide the genre and make labels depending on grade and class personality.
#8 – Name tags for coat hooks
Make sure kids can reach their hooks! Unpacking and packing will be much faster and less hectic.
#7 – Watercolor pencils
Sounds funny, but kids can color with these just like regular colored pencils. When finished, they simply use a paintbrush with clean water on their drawing to create the watercolor effect! This cuts down on clean up and materials for watercolor projects, giving kids more time to engage in the activity and less time transitioning!
#6 – Pencil bins for each table
It can be one student’s job to distribute pencil bins to each table, to avoid a pencil tornado when it is time to write.
#5 – Colored Bins
Labeled with children’s names, for their notebooks and folders. This gives children a “home base” for their things, and since many classrooms have group tables and not individual desks, this serves as an organized way to store their schoolwork.
#4 – Job chart
Your classroom will reap the benefits of having students involved in cleanup, attendance, line leaders, pencil sharpeners, reset attendance chart at end of day, chair pusher-inners and any other tasks that are relevant to the physical functioning of your room. Students become invested and aware of their contributions to the room, and treat the space with more respect.
#3 – Mailboxes
Different than bins, the mailbox is where students can drop off homework or signed materials from a parent. This way, there is not a mad rush of papers being thrown at you first thing in the morning. The mailbox can be checked during a prep or while the kids are at lunch.
#2 – Plastic bowls for snack
When snack is given out, everyone gets the same amount, and in the same size bowl. Children are very concerned with equity so this will certainly help.
#1 – Spots with name tags for the meeting area / group activities
Take the guess work out of where students sit in meeting for the first weeks of class. This will help students get to the carpet/meeting area and settle faster, without competing for a certain space or running, which can be dangerous! These can be gradually faded out of use, or may come in handy later in the year if there is a new activity or lesson which requires coordinated placement of students.