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Video: Setting Up the Classroom for the First Day of School

For teachers, preparing the classroom for the first day of school can be a whirlwind of excitement, nerves, bulletin boards, and staples. 

Education Week filmed the back-to-school ritual at Shields Elementary School in Lewes, Del. It's hectic, invigorating, and yields some pretty results: 

"You want to make sure that your students feel like this is a homey environment, and that can be kind of difficult sometimes with like, cinder block walls," said Kate Libby, a 3rd grade teacher, in the video. "I think that's the first thing teachers think about when they get their new position for the next year. How am I going to make my room warm and inviting and exciting for the students?" 

Education Week Teacher columnist Justin Minkel recently wrote that he visualizes his classroom from the perspective of his elementary students. He asks himself: Is there enough room for students to move? Can they access the materials easily? Will students feel like the classroom belongs to them, too?

But for new teachers who are in the throes of first-day preparation, be careful not to spend too much on school supplies. Experts say that teachers should think about practical over pretty, and not set up a "complete" space before the students arrive and the room inevitably changes. Here are some tips on spending less on school supplies

And Education Week Teacher blogger Nancy Flanagan put it this way: "Don't work too hard at unimportant things, like fancy bulletin boards. The most important thing you can do before school starts is think about the curriculum and the kids you're teaching." 

Happy first-day preparations, teachers! Let us know your back-to-school rituals in the comments. 

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