Use these 8 tips to set up your ELA classroom and encourage student independence and academic productivity.
I love bright colors! There is just something about bright colors that give me energy and I want to produce this same type of energy in my students EVERY👏SINGLE👏DAY!
Putting some attention into your classroom at the beginning of the year not only helps you create the vibes you hope for, but also can make your life a lot easier!
Do you really want your students to hand in every single paper to you? Or would you prefer to teach them how to hand their work in somewhere else?
Do you want students to continuously ask you for a pencil? Or would you prefer they know how to get one for themselves?
Check out the tips below to help you set your ELA classroom up for the year!
8 Tips to to Ready your Classroom for ELA Awesomeness
Be sure to have a fully-stocked classroom library!
As an ELA teacher, you will want your students to read as much as possible. Trust me, if you depend on each student making it to the library to get a reading book for each free-reading session, you may find yourself easily frustrated. Not all students love to read and will take their time getting to and from the library. It will be best to have a selection of good titles already in the room for students to choose from!
Create a designated reading space
I know you may not have a lot of space in your classroom, but if you do, a designated reading space is a must! Even at the middle school level, my students loved to get out of their desks and get comfy on a bean bag or large pillow on the floor during free reading time. It allowed them to be more comfortable and space out from the rest of the students.
Construct a focus wall complete with “I Can” statements
To help students stay focused on the unit goals, construct a focus wall where you can place posters and “I Can” statements for student reference. Placing them on the wall gives you a good place to reference during lessons and provides the students with a daily reminder of the unit goals!
Compose supply caddies for quick and easy use
I used to have a supply closet. I thought it was a good idea until it got so messy that it added more stress than anything. Eventually, I took an idea of another fellow teacher and created several supply caddies for students to use. Each caddie had necessary ELA supplies like paper, pencils, white-board markers, scissors, erasers, etc. These caddies made it easy for students to grab a pencil or quickly jump into group craft work!
Provide a student work display area
Although not all will admit it, students love to have their work displayed. Provide wall space or display boards where students can display their own work. My school had cork map rails directly outside my classroom for this exact purpose, but you can always throw a few in your classroom as well!
Designate a place where students collect and turn-in hard copy work
This idea is a MUST! Although you may be 1-to-1 and a lot of work has gone digital, students will need to have access to different worksheets throughout the year. I made sure to have trays or hanging files close to the door to house these worksheets. Students could pick up missing work in this location or hand in missing work in a designated hanging folder. It saves them the need to come up and talk to me directly AND gives them a place to look should I be out of the classroom.
Set student desks up in pods for quick group work
There are lots of ways to set up your desks in the classroom, but I do believe pods to be one of the best for ELA. Students collaborate often, discussing passages and working through writing assignments. By placing students in pods of four or five, students can easily work with several other students without moving their desks. This arrangement encourages collaboration which is exactly what your students will be doing a majority of the time!
Create a personalized home base (desk) and be sure to have sub plans
When you aren’t teaching, you spend a lot of time at your desk. I have found that creating a space where I can focus is just as important as creating a space for students to learn. Use a color scheme that you enjoy and personalize your desk with pictures, sports fan gear, or inspirational quotes to get you through even the longest of days! While you are at it, go ahead and create a couple emergency sub plans and find a place to keep them readily available. I like to hang mine on a hook off to the side of my desk so they are always easy to find and ready to go!
Take the time…
now to set your classroom up the way you desire. As the year gets busy, you will thank yourself for already having certain systems in place to handle the chaos of the school day!
Once you have your classroom arranged, all you will have left to plan is your curriculum and if you need any help with that, you should really check out The Sparkly Notebook’s new product line. This new product line has a resource for EACH common core standard! Check them out here! If you are looking for some tips and tricks to unpacking the standards and building your curriculum on your own, check out this blog post! It will give you A LOT to think about! Enjoy!