7 Ways to Refresh Your Classroom in the New Year


After a long break, it can feel like a bit of a shock to walk back into the classroom. You’re struggling with the early mornings and getting back into the routine of things. And your students are feeling the same way! It’s time for a refresh. To get everyone back on track (yourself included!), sometimes you need to bring out new classroom management ideas or reorganize your classroom.

I want to share a few things I liked to do to refresh my classroom after winter break. They helped my students get back on track with behavior, content, and routines!

#1 Rearrange the Furniture

You can go all out or keep it simple on this one. Have that one table that has been driving you nuts since the start of the year? Want to try out a new seating arrangement? Take some time to rearrange your classroom, so you can start off the new year on the right foot.

Personally, I was that teacher who rearranged desks at least four times a year. I liked to keep it fresh and fun!

#2 Try a New Behavior Management System

If you were struggling with behavior before the break, or you’re trying to get students back on task after a long time away from the classroom – it may be time to try some new classroom management ideas.

When my students came back from winter break, I always started with Behavior Focus Meetings. Over 16 weeks, we reviewed classroom expectations, procedures, and routines during these meetings. I also used a behavior focus board to set the expectations for the day using the 5 P’s (Prompt, Polite, Productive, Patient, Prepared), which we would review every morning. I’ve included both of these things in my Behavior Focus Meetings resource!

If you want to dig deeper into Behavior Focus Meetings, Expectations Scales, and the 5 P’s, check out this blog post here.

#3 Get Organized

When people ask for classroom management ideas, organization is always in my top five. It may not seem like organization can make a difference, but it definitely does! Organization helps our students follow routines and expectations because it’s clearly laid out. It also helps our students see the classroom as a place to be respected and taken care of.

There are lots of ways to organize your classroom, but here are a few spots I’d recommend starting with –

  • Make sure your classroom library is in order. Reshelf books. Retire books that are falling apart. Organize them by genre, author, name, or any other system you like. Using library labels makes organizing easier. Plus, with labels, your students can help organize as well. 
  • Check on your assignment collection system. Do you have a full bin of paper that needs to be tossed or passed back? Is your bin clearly labeled and in the right place? Make sure your systems are set up, so students can use them.
  • Take a look at your classroom supplies. Replenish anything that needs refilling, and get rid of the glue sticks and markers that are dried up.

Want more organization tips? Here are my top five tips for classroom organization.

#4 Start a New Morning Routine

So many of these can double as classroom management ideas! By having a solid morning routine, you can start your day on the right foot. After half a year of a routine, you’ve likely seen what has worked, what hasn’t, and what is feeling boring. Now, it’s time to mix it up!

Incorporate new activities like independent reading or number of the day activity. You can also use this time for one of your classroom management ideas. For example, I always liked having my Behavior Focus Meeting in the morning.

Whatever changes you make, be sure you clearly explain the new procedures. Heck, even if you keep everything the same, this is the season for reviewing all the classroom procedures!

#5 Revamp Your Parent Communication

I always started the year with the best intentions. I was going to reach out with positive phone calls, messages, and notes throughout the year. But, as time went on, it just slipped my mind. With everything else on a teacher’s to-do list, it makes sense that parent communication falls wayside.

But, it’s not too late to make it a priority! I liked to use a Positive Communication Tracker to hold myself accountable. This resource includes contact logs, parent forms, email templates, and more to make communication simple and save time. Because parent communication shouldn’t take up hours of your week!

You can learn more about how I made parent communication easy here.

#6 Treat Yourself

Sometimes you need something new to get yourself excited about work again. A new set of flair-pens add a little extra fun to grading, and a new lanyard can make the perfect teacher outfit accessory. Or maybe it’s a morning trip to Dunkin’. As much as you love teaching, it is a tough job, and it can take a lot of you. Refuel your tank with some self-care (and some occasional retail therapy never hurts either). Check out my favorite items on this list to add something fresh and fun to your classroom!

#7 Student Jobs

Now that you’re halfway through the year and students have a clear understanding of classroom procedures, it might be time to expand on your classroom jobs. Personally, I think class jobs are a must, and I always added more jobs as the school year went on.

Reevaluate the different job positions you have and consider bringing in new ones. Consider jobs that would make the classroom run easier, such as a timekeeper, vacuumer, or librarian. Not only do these pass more responsibility to students, but it frees you up to focus on the things you have to do. Check out all my classroom jobs and bulletin display here.

I hope you feel super refreshed after your break! I know it can be hard to get back into the swing of things, so utilize some of these classroom management ideas and reset tips to get your classroom back on track.

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