I have exactly three days before I officially return to school for Student Free Days. Professional development, conferencing about school vision, planning meetings, resource ordering and all that stuff. But, tomorrow I got to school to get my classroom set up. My nephew (number one) is coming over tonight, he is coming to school with me tomorrow to help. We will be moving furniture, unpacking books onto shelves, organising my desk, putting up posters and curtains, cutting up laminated displays, photographing walls and the list goes on.
I do hope #1 is ready for a big day. I'm not sure that I am.
The most important thing about tomorrow is that I have a plan of action. When you are about to start a big project (setting up a classroom, moving house, redecorating, a big artwork) it is tempting to jump right in. However, if you don't have a plan you ultimately spend a great deal of time going back and forth when you realise that the bookshelf doesn't look any good in that corner or the opposite corner, but should be next to the desk where it started. Or, we make big mistakes that need to be fixed and that takes time too. I also find that people are keen to help but they can't read my mind and they don't know what I want to happen and they need direction. If you haven't taken the time to plan, then they can end up standing around waiting for you to work out what you want them to do and they get frustrated. Also, if they are moving the furniture and you realise that you don't like that configuration and they have to do more moving because you didn't have a plan, they won't want to help you again.
So, I have a plan. However, I have to admit that in my recent state of mind (generally confused and forgetful) that I would miss something important while I was planning. Thankfully, I have all these great teaching blog buddies who focus on various areas of the teaching context. All of them enjoy taking photos of their classroom and sharing how they organise and store their resources. Some of them even have packets on Teachers Pay Teachers with advice and planning templates related to setting up a classroom. It is no secret how much I love the Clutter Free Classroom. Therefore, I printed off the Clutter Free Classroom Guide and got cracking.
You see, as much as I am annoyed that I have to move classrooms, I am rather excited about the prospect of a new location. I am choosing to see it as an opportunity to de-clutter and create a new teaching/ learning space in a real classroom (you may not know that I was teaching in an open plan living type house built on our school grounds). Anyway, my plan...
1. Start by putting the furniture in place. I drew a floor plan, so that #1 and I now exactly what we are heading towards and hopefully we can do it quickly.
2. Unpack boxes of resources and place them into the shelves and cupboards out of the way.
3. Set up my laptop and printer (and any other computers that I may or may not have, which unfortunately I have no control over at this point).
4. Get all the posters and class displays up on the walls where possible.
5. Inventory and replenish resources and materials for student use. For example: behaviour charts, sticker cards and stationery.
There are plenty of other things to do, but this is a start. A small start.
The message of today's post is this... Have a Plan.