Written by: Krys Warstillo

Set up your first or second grade classroom for success! A good classroom setup will feel like each group has enough space to complete their task. This means that materials have a designated spot. Also, the flow of traffic is not too crowded or too open. Read on to see how this can be done!

Download your free 1st grade and 2nd grade scope and sequence by clicking on your desired grade level.

Bird’s Eye View of a 1st/2nd Grade Classroom

When arranging your first or second grade classroom, one of the first things to set up are spaces to support math and ELA centers.  Everything else will fall into place more easily if designated center spots are made first! Take a look at the bird’s eye view diagram of my classroom below so you can see what I mean. The diagram gives the bird’s eye view of what my classroom looks like during math. You can sketch this out several times in a notebook or try planning digitally using the Lakeshore Learning website.

birds eye view of a second grade classroom arrangement

You will also notice that the teacher table is in the corner and away from the other students’ centers. This is the least distractible place for kids to work and their backs are to the rest of the class.  

If students are feeling crowded at their table, they do have the option of choosing a “smarter spot” for their center.  Some of those spots can be the floor, reading area, rug, or standing desk.  Kids are not allowed to move their center to a different table to work near other students.  Discuss “smart spots” during your launching lessons when we are discussing our rules and expectations. Here’s more advice about how to launch centers.

Whole Group Meeting Area

The whole group meeting area is where you will be doing some of your instruction this year. You may also use this area for read alouds, morning meetings, and giving directions for centers or small group time. Give yourself some space to include an easel close by. Many teachers like to have document cameras in this area as well.

The Teacher Table

The teacher table area is where you will do your student interventions, reading groups, guided math, or even just to hold onto a dedicated space for your para or parent volunteers. It can be ultra efficient to tuck the teacher table into a corner where it is quiet and away from distractions.

Classroom Photos

After about 100 hours of classroom time, lots of Pinterest and blog searching, and many hours of computer creating time each year, the classroom is arranged and ready to go! Here’s a sneak peek of a few of the areas referred to in this post.

Teacher Table

teacher table

Colorful Tables

color coded student tables

Teacher Desk

teacher desk organization

Whole Group Meeting Spot

whole group area

Classroom Library

classroom library

You can find more classroom reveal photos and information about how I set up and organize different areas in THIS POST.

Setting Up Centers

You will likely spend the MOST time setting up for centers, so let’s focus on this a bit more. The goal is to create a space that allows students to be as independent as possible. In order for centers to be successful, you need to be able to focus on the small group you are working with while the rest of your class is being productive. Setting up your centers to keep them self-contained and consistent will help keep your students on task.

Organizational Tools

Below is a look at baskets we would recommend to organize centers. One organizational tip is to match your students’ math center baskets or trays to their table color. Read all about how to set up and prep centers. Get all the details about how to store and organize center materials.

baskets or trays organize math center manipulatives

Center Activities

The centers you choose do not have to remain static throughout the year, but consistency is helpful for our little learners. I tend to keep the same station types, but change out the activities monthly to match the season and the progression of skills as time goes on.

Math Centers

Here is a list of our favorite math centers:

ELA Centers

Here is a list of our favorite ELA centers:

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list of centers for ELA or math! Use the centers that work for your classroom and students.

More Info on Getting Your Centers Up and Running

Everything You Need to Know About Math Centers

Second Grade Classroom Set Up

2nd Grade Schedule

How to Set Up Centers

2nd Grade Centers: Launching & Management

Flexible Groups in Math

Math Center Activities

Center FAQs & Answers

If you’re looking for the absolute easiest way to plan for center activities, take a look at our math and literacy center activity bundles for the entire year in the box below!

SHOP THIS POST

2nd Grade Math Centers

2nd Grade Literacy Centers

Setting up an entire classroom can be a lot of work – but the time spent arranging and organizing before the school year starts is worth it!

When it’s time to set up your first or second grade classroom, we hope these tips help your classroom run smoothly all year long!

Use the image below to save this post to your Pinterest board for future reference.

second grade classroom set up

5 Comments

  1. Renee

    I would love to view this training! I cannot find it (but I saw a picture on Lucky 2nd Grade…)
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Bailey Jordan

      Hi Renee!
      The training is the video at the top of this blog post, I hope this helps! Have a great day!

      Bailey J.
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  2. Trish

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your tips on setting up my classroom. I am looking forward to planning and implementing a whole new classroom for the incoming children. I love being organized and I believe that setting up my classroom to more conducive I will be able to spend more time teaching than correcting & over monitoring my class. Can’t thank you enough. Hugs!

    Reply
  3. Brandy McGhee

    Love this! Thank you for the tips!
    @sincerelybrandyk

    Reply
  4. Susan B

    Nice room. Our library is organized by topic/ theme.

    Reply

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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