Creating a warm and welcoming learning environment can play a big part in your students’ academic success, and getting it done in less time than it takes to watch Titanic means you’ll have more time to spend with family in the final days of the summer break!

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Plan ahead
Do as much prep work as possible at home, including sketching furniture layouts and creating bulletin board components on the computer. This way, even though you’re technically working, you’re doing it in the comfort of your own home—plus, it will save you a lot of time later on. Having a good plan book will help you get off to the best possible start and keep you on track throughout the year.

Avoid distractions
Set up your classroom at a time when you know there won’t be many people in the building. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself catching up with colleagues, and before you know it, three hours will have passed. Also, while you work, ban yourself from devices and your computer to avoid getting sidetracked.

Set a schedule
Stay focused and on track to finish under three hours by allotting a specific time for each task. Use the below as a rough guide:

Task                                                               Time Allotted
Furniture arrangement                                35 minutes
Bulletin boards                                             40 minutes
Hallway display                                            30 minutes
Decorating and desktops                            40 minutes
Copies and planning                                   30 minutes

Look at other teachers’ classrooms
Your colleagues’ classrooms are a great source of inspiration to pull from (as is this list of décor ideas for a calm and focused classroom). You can steal the ideas you like and ask more experienced teachers for advice on what works and what doesn’t.

Be strategic about what goes at the front of the class
Students spend the majority of their time in the classroom facing forward, so you’ll want to put your most important materials on the wall behind your desk, taking care not to overstimulate your students’ senses. This is a good place for things like classroom rules and mottos.  

Don’t be afraid to be you
Your classroom is a sacred space where you are molding the minds of the next generation. As such, it should shine with your personality and reflect your values. 

Don’t worry about finishing
Setting up an effective classroom is an eternal work in progress. Make changes as the year goes on to ensure your space is operating as efficiently as possible.