Saturday, 27 August 2016

Mistakes I Made in My First Classroom Set Up

These photographs were taken last year when a newly qualified teacher went to set up her first classroom!
I thought today I'd compile a list of the mistakes I made as a mini reflection, maybe may help some people or give you ideas. By all means, I am not saying this classroom was awful because actually a lot of the initial displays I put up stayed all year round and worked fabulously. Others however were changed rather sharpish-ly! And what may or may not have worked for me, could have an opposite effect for you.
  1. Laminating too much ; throughout the year I found a love of working walls, and by January I stopped laminating altogether for displays. 
  2. Too many words and writing on a wall ; I'm looking at that absolutely hideous word wall I made. I honestly thought it was going to be the next best thing, but it was taken down within a few weeks as the children barely acknowledged it! 
  3. The 100 Square ; I love the 100 square resource shown, but sticking it on the wall where it was unaccessible was no good. Unfortunately I didn't have a board by the front of the room to have it on so it went in a drawer for the year. In my new class there is one on the back of an easily movable board at the front of the room! 
  4. Keeping displays because the last teacher had it ; the construction site wall was there when I got there, and for thinking that I should keep it as it was last year for Year 1, I left it for a term and it was unused, as continuous provision actually didn't work for my class. If you don't like it, don't keep it! 
  5. Not having children's work up ; the easiest way to get a working wall going is to use transition and the term before the next term to get your working wall started. I used to let the children paint and design lettering for displays during golden time the term before we were due to start the next topic - this worked especially well with Animals, where the children drew animals inside each letter! For Transition my All About Me sheets I have backed on coloured paper and am hanging them on a washing line so the children recognise some work the moment they step in the classroom for their new year. I know it's not possible for all teachers, but I would say if you have a way of getting some work pre-start of the year madness, then do it! 
  6. Lack of independent challenges; One thing I grew to love last year was having independent challenges ready made for each topic. Twinkl have brilliant challenge cards covering so many areas of the curriculum across year groups or you could make your own! I used these focus boards at the beginning of the year, and typed a question on challenge onto A4 paper - later during the first term, I stapled an A4 plastic wallet to the wall and slid in a new challenge each week based on what we were learning (I made one for Literacy/Topic, Maths and Phonics) - challenges I got the children to write answers and their name on post it notes and stick to the wall - it was a simple easy way to create a working wall or extend the children and give them an extension if they'd finished all their work. 
And I think that's it? I'm sure I'll press publish on this and then think of loads more points I could've made! I'd love to know if you had any first classroom set up mistakes or even your most recent mistake? 

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