I moved from Elementary to Middle School two years ago. This will be my third year in fifth grade. I really love setting up my classroom but it is so much easier and less time consuming now. Primary teachers go above and beyond!!! Here are some things that I do to make it even easier.
Things that I do to get ready: (If you make a to do list before you go in it helps)
#1 Clean out closets and organize...purge
I quickly go through all my cabinets and drawers. I am still weeding down my teaching materials, if it is not science or math related, I have been giving it away. Last year, I saved photo copy boxes and when I finished a science unit I put it in a box and labeled it. The copy boxes fit in my closet.
Take note of materials and what you may need as you organize.
#2 Name Tags...no more labeling
I was obsessed with labels and then went to a number system in my elementary classroom. No more!!!
I have two homeroom classes and found it hard to use numbers. The only thing I label is their desk nameplates for the open door day. I bought the $1.00 chart strips from Target. The kids want to see who is in their class. We have the kids bring their nameplates with them when we switch classes the first few weeks. Fifth graders can write their name and label their own workbooks and notebooks!!!! Our students share desks and they write their name on masking tape and put on inside. Buy extra sharpies!!!! (Hint...laminate first. If there is an error, write over sharpie with dry erase marker and it comes off!!!)
#3 Bulletin Boards..leave them up all year!!!!
There are fewer bulletin boards in Middle School. I cover the boards in my classroom with fade less black paper and have not changed them since I moved. I cover up over the summer. I did update the middle board with a STEM section this year Design boards that you don't have to keep changing. It will save you time.
#4 Copy for First Week (3 days)...Keep it Simple
You will not get through everything you have planned. I was looking at my plans from last year and there were so many extra things added like an assembly, school pictures, fire drill, school tour, etc. The activities that you do plan take longer than you think. It is good to have extra things, but it should be focused on starting curriculum, like setting up interactive notebooks, going over math practices, multiplication quiz, etc.
Choose your B2S activities carefully. I am doing a Math About Me Using Equations and a Fifth Grade News sheet. I do have team building things planned as well. (you don't want to repeat from other grades) Start out slow and establish your routines and expectations!
I like to create a pacing guide for my math and science units. Luckily, our grade level team has created it together. There is so much to teach and it keeps me on track.
I like my desks in groups. We do a lot of group work in math and science. I also want my desks facing the front board, because I use the projector for math and use many video clips. I bought the supply carts from Target and have one for each group. If they are not using supplies, they can be moved. There is two extra shelves to store notebooks and anything else we need. The carts are on wheels and can be moved.
I use a kidney table as my desk with cubbies for storage. The teacher desk was taking up too much space and I was never at it. I keep my lap top on a cart near the front board. I use a student chair at the cart, because they teacher chair was cumbersome.
Have a great school year!!!!