• Welcome teachers! Log in or Register Now for a free ProTeacher account!

Setting up classroom help! Where do you start?

Bulletin Boards | Themes 


Senior Member
You'd think after 15 years I'd have this down but I don't! I never know where to begin.
Especially now with alternative seating-desks, tables of various sizes, etc.

So where should I begin when setting up my classroom? I honestly have no clue!


Senior Member

My room always looks worse before better when I get started. :p
I begin with furniture placement. Then once I am happy I move on.
As for alternative seating. I dabble with it. I have done stations around my room that students can use. But they have a seat to be sent back to LOL


Senior Member
i do furniture first, also. Then I look at areas that I want set up around the room. My work space, my guided reading/math area, any work stations... Then i do the walls and bulletin boards. Then I have to clean up because school is starting and there is no time until the next year!


Senior Member

I feel your pain! I changed classrooms this year, so everything was boxed up and my new room is smaller.

I agree with setting up the furniture first. I felt better doing that. Then I started on bulletin boards, walls, and reading corner (in that order). Then I organized things like my file cabinet, other cabinets, etc... so it would be easier to find things throughout the year.

It's so overwhelming to get started. I still have more to do, but I could easily start the way it is, so I feel good about that. We start next week. <!--eyebrow-->


Senior Member
Yes! Arrange your funiture. Decide on what theme or decor you want, where your required things will be like lesson frames, word walls, etc. Then do the bulletin boards and posters etc. I have moved rooms more times in my 17 years than I care to remember!

Oh and my room always looks like a tornado hit before I get it done.


Senior Member
This is what I do

Furniture first, like everyone else - then it starts to feel like my room.
I plan out my b-boards at home, so I can just hang them up when I get there.
Then I do any cleaning/dusting as I set out my bins and organizers.
I save my desk for last.

I'm fortunate in that my library shelves are bolted to the wall so I can leave my library set up over the summer!


Senior Member
I'm completing boring and keep everything arranged the same way each year. I even laminated my BTS bulletin board displays, so all I have to do is unroll them and staple them up.

As PPs said, start with the furniture. Get the big stuff set out first and work around it.


Senior Member
If you arrange your furniture and then make sure each of your bulletin boards has backing paper/fabric and borders, then clean up any unnecessary messes, your room will "look" done. Next set up any classroom computers if you don't have laptops. Finally, organize your teacher area. Once you have those basics down, you can do things at your own pace.


Senior Member
I usually...
- Wipe all surfaces and shelves in the rooms.
- Make sure all furniture is in place. (If I give the custodians a classroom map of my furniture, they move it for me :))
- Unpack the rest of my boxes and put into place (i.e. books, school supplies, teacher supplies, etc)
- Make sure all signs and bulletin boards are up.
- Check to see if any signs or labels need to be replaced.


Senior Member
I'm completing boring and keep everything arranged the same way each year. I even laminated my BTS bulletin board displays, so all I have to do is unroll them and staple them up.

I'm pretty close to this. I tend to change a few small things each year, but the bulk of what I have stays the same. Of course, my room is so tiny that I don't have many options! I'm like the others, though - furniture, then bulletin boards, then anything that needs to be labeled, last putting back the little things and anything else that I forgot.


Senior Member
Like others, I put my furniture where I want it first. I change that arrangement just about every year. My room always looks like it has been hit by a hurricane before it comes back together. I have been in huge PURGE mode this year and have done some major trashing of stuff I have accumulated over my 24 years. Good luck! I know the finished project will be great!


Senior Member
Well, luckily, I don't really have bulletin boards! No posters, either. (We do anchor charts throughout the year).

So, furniture: student desks and tables, first. I'll try that!

I have laptops, so don't have to worry about a computer center. :)

My library is bolted to the wall, as well.

I guess it's easier than I am thinking...I think it's just that I now have more tables, and fewer desks, and it is throwing me for a loop.

I'm not *quite* ready to go in to set up, but know I have to next week.

Thanks for all the tips! I'm off to watch the video!


Senior Member
I start with furniture placement, then I get my desk set up because I like to be able to find my supplies quickly when I need them. If I have any boxes, I unpack those next to get the boxes out of the room. From there, it just depends.


Senior Member
I do the furniture first and then start by setting up the areas of work for the kids. I stay with one side of the room before setting up the next side,otherwise I am wandering from task to task. I stay pretty clutter free while working because I don't like leaving for the day with a mess laying around.Numbering student materials and doing desk and cubbie tags are last as enrollment could have changed so I check with office before labeling any student materials.


Full Member
set up

i have this down to a science! when i didn't have a list like this, I would bounce around like a pinball from task to task and it would take me forever!

1. furniture set up! i do this first and then tweak it once everything else is done!

2. bulletin boards: I just put paper on them. I use kid-made borders- students color sentence strips when they arrive. They're so cute- and free!. I leave all the bulletin boards blank to fill up with student work and anchor charts we make together.

3. classroom library: make sure each book is properly labeled and in the right basket; tape up damaged books; add new books, etc.

4. Hang up various pocket charts: Calendar, Schedule, Classroom Jobs Board, 100 Chart; Math Workshop Rotation Board

5. writing center: lots and lots of 5 page booklets for writers workshop, date stamps, revising strips, post-its, green pens for editing, staplers, tape, etc.

6. word wall set up: student names up + I teach 2nd so I put all the 1st grade sight words up and we add as we go

7. math tubs: i fill the math tubs with our first 4-5 games we will be playing for the 1st couple weeks.

8. word study shelf- set up cookie sheets with magnetic letters, white boards, etc.

9. seating chart and name tags: i usually ask the PE teacher or art teacher to help me with this since they know the kids! :)

10. GET ORGANIZED! This is the most important step and I sometimes reserve a full day for it! Once all the necessities are done, I start really cleaning and organizing materials. I put away all the boxes, set up my filing cabinets, purge necessary items and put things into shelves/bins/cabinets neatly. I totally agree with the PP who said the room looks worse before it looks better! But once this is done, my room looks super neat! I hate clutter!

11. student materials: put together/label take-home folders, writing folders, reading folders, math folders, Friday Journals, Writing Portfolios, Science Notebooks, math workbooks, etc.

12. copies: i ALWAYS pick a time when i am sure no one will be in the copy room for this, usually first thing in the morning. I make lots of copies of things i will needs all year (spelling tests, reading logs, writing booklets, behavior reflection sheets, etc) and things that I will need for the first week. Then, it all gets filed in the appropriate space in the classroom.

13. assessments- we have a bunch of B.O.Y assessments to give so i get those ready to go

14. plans for week 1

15. final tweaks to the lay out, sharpen pencils, make week 1 newsletter, etc.

this works for me!


Junior Member

Thanks for your list! That is so helpful... I will follow it when I set up my classroom.