First of all, thank you so much for following our blog and reading about the various topics throughout the week. Sharing is what makes education unique and enriches all involved.
In fact, that leads to one of my tips and tricks. In my new situation, being on a brand new team of second grade teachers all from different schools/districts, we are going through every effort to share all that we can with each other. Seeing what others have or what might be right there on your pintrest or TPT saves time from reinventing the wheel. Also, sharing what you have helps you hear others add to your ideas and helps you be a contributing team member/form strong relationships. Working together can be more time consuming because of discussion, but the end result is often greater for students. My team and I worked together for 8 hours straight today to get the year off to a good start for our students. We are developing trusting relationships among ourselves as a 2nd grade team. This will enable us to further differentiate and share students for guided reading, math groups, and word study groups. Teamwork is huge. Don't be afraid to compromise, let go, share your strengths, and take one for the team sometimes.
My next tip might seem obvious, but it is something I have to discipline myself to do. When setting up a classroom, especially if your moving, do it right. Resist every urge to just put things away in a spot. Instead, put things away in an organized way that has rhyme and reason to it. I tried to put away like things near each other so that if I was trying to remember where I put something, I could just think about the most sensible place for it to be. I do not enjoy the task of unpacking 8 boxes of different items and trying to determine a method to the madness. However, now that my classroom is ready to go, I have been able to zip around and find things right away. All my paper is together organized by color. Each shelf and closed container has a label on it so I don't have to go digging. I use little desk compartments to divide up different types of materials. As much as I didn't want to invest the time in this, the payout will be huge throughout the year!
Last, don't overdo the room. I have huge perfectionist tendencies. I feel that my classroom is a reflection of my work ethic and investment as well as something parents will see when they make their first impression of me. Therefore, I like to have things just so. However, I resist the urge to do it all up. I want to save plenty of space to create with the students and have much of the room be a reflection of them, our learning, and community. Wall space is an asset and student ownership is a must.
I wish you all a very happy first few days of school!