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Setting Up Your Remote Classroom

It’s so exciting setting up your remote classroom for the first time! What works in your mainstream city classroom might not be the best classroom design options for remote.

Some considerations for what you decide to use in your classroom:

  • Removable covers are great! Anything red or dark colours would be preferred over light colours. Wipeable or short pile (not long shaggy rugs for example). The red dust (and the occasional critters) will get everywhere!
  • Attendance and transiency may be issues for you in your classroom. Displays of student work and pictures of them doing activities for displays may help student’s feel welcomed and like they belong. You could set up a ‘Pride Wall’ display. Students might appreciate a personal space (desk, tray, dot on the mat) with their name on it.
  • Buy sturdy over pretty. And multi-use over single use. Second hand over new. Buy right- buy once. Be a role model for your students about consumerism.
  • Donations are great! You will be surprised how many people are willing to donate bits and bobs to help you create a welcoming classroom. If you still have an uplift (removalist paid by the Education Department for some remote placements) consider asking your family, friends, old school and wider community for spare things- rug, curtains, spare microwave, sandwich press, bean bags, cushions, even bookshelves and storage boxes, old party supplies (for class themes or parties) etc.
  • Your designs should celebrate culture and identity. Your Aboriginal Education Assistant would likely love to be involved in designing some displays with you or remember some great displays that have been done previously in the school.
  • The AIATSIS map will likely be somewhere in your room.
  • Blank space is okay. Some research shows that a less cluttered classroom actually works better for some learners especially those with special needs. A great way to manage this is to only have themed displays that are anchor charts or walls that you refer to regularly in learning and students can then refer to in their independent work. There is no need to ‘brighten up’ or ‘over decorate’ for the sake of it.
  • The blue tac on displays on windows, under air con and in hot classrooms will likely fall off regularly. Either consider alternative attachment methods such as sticky velcro, painters sticky tape, tacs, staple gun etc or consider alternative placement of your displays… or just deal with the fact that you will constantly be fixing up these displays!

Things you should consider when buying…

  • If you have a class budget your school may have a specific supplier that they need to buy through for most of your displays. Check with administration if this is the case for your school. Often schools hold accounts with somewhere like Modern Teaching Aids.
  • Remember that you may be able to claim educational resources on tax if purchased yourself- always keep the receipts and label things you privately purchased so you can take them with you when you leave/change rooms etc. Speak with your accountant to get a better idea of what is claimable.
  • Look for bargains during Boxing Day, Black Friday and End of Financial Year sales- that you might be able to use in the next term or next year.
  • Set expectations around the use of your class resources with students early on and explicitly teach these. It can be really really frustrating when you spend time and money on displays or resources only to have them graffitied, or torn, or misused.

Some inspiration…

  • Pinterest has SO many display ideas!
  • EMRO Design rugs or throw pillows reflect culture and look amazing!
  • If I had heaps of money to blow or a large class budget a My Nook play space couch looks amazing!
  • Places like Kmart, Ikea, Aldi often have a range of education suitable displays or resources. Kmart’s outdoor physical activity section has recently had some great little resources well worth checking out- such as obstacle course sets, flat sit spots, fuzzy balls (for things like silent ball games in class, or stress/fiddle balls etc).
  • I like to get some rolls of Aboriginal designed material to use as the backing material over display boards- places such as Aboriginal Fabric Gallery, Kullilla Art, or even Spotlight (if you can’t find an appropriate Aboriginal design here they have some great alternatives that are fairly cheap in interesting designs). I can reuse the material year after year.
  • Ask children to make their own displays such as red/black/yellow paper chains, a class flag or mural, leaf display board borders and more.
  • Download displays from Twinkl, or Teach Starter, or Teachers Pay Teachers. Another great remote teacher with a brilliant store is Lauren’s Lil Learners.
  • The Remote Teacher has a TPT store and the resource Remote Classroom Ready- Class Displays and Labels.

Have a favourite Teachers Pay Teachers seller that does some deadly displays- share them in the comments section below!

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Hi, we are Hakea Hustler and Carl Merrison

We help new remote teachers feel confident and successful  so that they can make the most of their time remote and live a life of adventure.

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