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suzybygrace 07-16-2019 11:03 AM

Moving to 2nd in a hoarder's old classroom
I am moving from 4th to 2nd. I've never taught 2nd grade before. I have inherited a classroom with piles and piles of junk leftover from the previous teacher who retired and just left everything in the classroom! She literally walked out and took nothing with her from 25 years of teaching in that same room. She taught math, science, and social studies to 3rd graders, and I will be teaching ELA to 2nd. I am in a very old district. The classroom has a dozen old metal shelves, a computer table, a rectangle table, and 3 metal file cabinets. The district nor school has any money to purchase something new...I will have to make do with the furniture that is already there.

I really could use some help with turning this room into a 2nd grade learning environment. I can't see the trees for the forrest at this point. I don't know what types of spaces I will need in the classroom...for instance, where so I put a library, do I need a morning meeting space, do I need a place for small groups, etc. What other kinds of learning areas do second graders need?

I really struggle with time management and organizing chaos. I desperately need a plan of attack: an organized list of necessities to help me get started? Every time I walk into that room, I just get overwhelmed and don't know where or how to get started! I have very little time (3 weeks) and during that time my last child will be leaving the nest for college. I just don't even know where to begin. I have almost gotten rid of all the junk left in the classroom, but I'm left with all of these metal shelves, file cabinets, and old computer tables. The 3 computers in the room are almost completely covered in layers of dust and a million tangled cords, I'm not sure if they'll actually work when I finally do clean them up and plug them in. Please help me out if you possibly can...I am officially drowning!! Thank you very very much!

eliza4one 07-16-2019 11:40 AM

Anything you don't need (computer tables, nonworking computers, file cabinets), have the custodian haul out of there pronto. Maybe each school is different, but if there are tables, etc. in our rooms that we won't use/don't want, we can put them in the hallway for other teachers to take and/or have the custodian haul them away for us.

That might help for starters.

You'll need a classroom library area, so will the shelves work for that?

I am amazed that principals will allow teachers to check out for the summer/retire and leave their rooms full of junk! Boggles my mind!

Baby steps...

SusanTeach 07-16-2019 12:05 PM

I had a similar problem a year ago when I went into a classroom that was used as a "catch all". I put everything I didn't need/want in the hallway and let others get it. I asked the custodians to toss anything that was left after a week.

I liked my library near a window, so I'd put the metal shelves near a window. Use cute washi tape to put around the edges to dress it up some. Make sure the shelves form a U or L shape, so you can still see the students.

Put your file cabinets near your desk, but see if there's anything worth keeping and again toss the rest.

Do you have a tech person? If so, ask them to look at your computers. If not, plug them in and turn them on to see if they work. Then work on untangling them. Put them in another area of your room.

Once you get the big furniture set in place, it's easier to see the big picture. Then you can wipe everything down with Clorox wipes. Then start decorating.

I absolutely loved 2nd grade!

TeaPro 07-24-2019 08:17 PM

I feel slightly guilty because I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. I am trying to purge and would never just walk out! I'd love to hear what happened to the previous teacher. Had to be some kind of drama.

Because you have very little time right now just do a basic setup, and then as you have time you can decorate more.

First, I if you have any cupboards I doubt you will need three file cabinets so get rid of two. If you don't have cupboards keep all three for storage. Next year you can spray paint them a cute color. This year just decorate with bulletin board trim and/or posters. Student supplies/games can be in the lower drawers.

You'll need a large library. Second graders read shorter books than 4th graders so you need lots. Make sure the shelves are secured and not going to fall over. I organize my books in plastic baskets by reading level or by author. The rectangular table can be for small groups. You also need a gathering spot where everyone can sit on the carpet (do you have carpet?) and where you will teach whole group lessons. Don't worry about the computers right now if you are pressed for time.

Good luck. Second grade is the best.

Marcimcg 07-25-2019 02:12 PM

2nd grade hoarders room
I just retired from 25 years in first grade.

You need to have a library. If you donít have books, invite the kids to bring in books from home right away to get started. Try goodwill for books and ask other teachers in your school to donate until you get some.

Make meeting place on the floor, carpet I hope for whole class lessons.
Use your rectangle table for small group lessons.

Dollar stores have cheap bins and baskets for books.

Get computer person to help you set them up or get rid of them.

I came into my room from a veteran teacher who left moldy posters she loved and lots of junk. What a project to get room ready so I feel for you.

In June, I left my room carrying two bags. Every cabinet, closet, shelf, drawer was empty. I gave everything to other teachers, aides, students or threw it out. I just canít imagine walking away without cleaning out the room. Best of luck to you. Second graders are wonderful and willlove anything you do with them. Hugs!

Violets2 07-29-2019 06:26 AM

I agree with others about needing a place for desks, and a whole group gathering spot--if no carpet just tape off an area on the floor with decorative tape, and definitely the rectangle table for small group/individual students when they meet with you. Gathering spot can vary if where you think you'd like it doesn't work, then switch it up until it works for you and them. I have mine by my reading strategy board because that was expected. I used to have it by my big classroom calendar to begin the day.

I also think it'd be wise to keep the 3 file cabinets this year. The sides can be used as display area/magnetic work also if you're pressed for space. Use for this year and if they're not needed, then put them in hallway for someone else.

I'd be leery to use the metal shelving for a library area unless it's definitely sturdy and guaranteed no tipping issues. Otherwise, use if for your storage only.

I use plastic bins for my book tubs scattered throughout the room sorted by genre. Dollar store is great for this.

Your procedures could be similar to what you already use, meaning: line order, how do they/when use the bathroom, get drinks, will you allow water bottles, snack time? when? Behavior expectations, Recess could be dependent on your schedule or predetermined. And then might change, lol.

I have my students keeps supplies, text books, notebooks, etc in their desks. Others, have a place in room and pass out when needed. Whatever works for you and your students.

Don't forget--it'll be a new space to them so it doesn't have to be 100% done/perfect on day 1. I think too many of us get caught up in this and it just adds more stress than needed.

I print their names on desk tags so they have a spot to go to on the first day. I think it produces too much anxiety in them to come in and find no desk with their name. They'll come with supplies, most likely so it's nice for them to have somewhere to put them. I do the same with lockers.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy 2nd grade <!--schoolhouse-->

kahluablast 07-29-2019 06:45 AM

My room has three file cabinets. I keep files in one, but the other two stored my extra classroom supplies in small baskets. On top of them I had two three drawer plastic bins that I kept materials for centers. It put them at kids and my eye level with some space at the front for a box of tissues or clipboard... it was nice to have.

I know there have been lists made on PT in the past with BOY things to get done. I just don’t see any right now. Maybe someone could attach one or help find one. I haven’t checked tpt, but I can aimagine they have several, too.

Start by moving that furniture around so you have all those spaces you need (your list is great), then start thinking procedures, organizing procedures (how do kids know and how does the room set up complement this), and curriculum. Things will start to fall into place. I keep a notebook during this time and jot things I need to do down as I come up with them. In your “breaks” you can prioritize those ideas, scratch some unneeded off, and work on them as you can.

Good list in this post

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