Getting Ready for Back to School

Can you BELIEVE it is already time to start getting ready for back to school? I am spending these next few weeks collecting great ideas for when I get back into my classroom so I can hit the ground running when I return. Classroom decor and organization is my favorite part of the back to school process.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog.

kindergarten classroom

EVERYONE wants to know if I will be keeping my current classroom design (created in partnership with Melanie from Schoolgirl Style) or doing something totally new and different this year. I love my classroom SO much, that I have decided to keep it as-is for another year.


If you know me at all, you know that I won’t be able to resist the urge to make a few classroom improvements.

In fact, I have already made my annual trip to Big Lots to stock up on magazine boxes. They are perfect for storing oversize picture books in my classroom library and I never seem to have enough of these wonderful boxes.

pink and blue storage containers from Big Lots

Back to School Pinterest Board

What better way to prepare for Back to School than to see dozens of tips and ideas from teachers across the country? You can bet I’m scrolling through my Back to School Pinterest board as I prepare to my new batch of students. Be sure to follow the board so you don’t miss out on any great ideas!

Follow Maria Manore (Kinder-Craze)’s board Back to School on Pinterest.

Alphabet Word Wall Preparation

I have also begun to prep the supplies for my Alphabet Word Wall. I use the wall to simultaneously remind students of letter sounds AND provide an anchor for all the sight words we learn throughout the year.

This is how my classroom Alphabet Word Wall looks during the first week of school.
Alphabet Wall that doubles as a Word Wall. Cute!

This is how the word wall looks in late spring.
Alphabet Wall that doubles as a Word Wall. LOVE THIS IDEA!

Create Your Own Sight Word Cards

Creating the sight words is easy, I just print the word cards on Sight Word Flashcard Labels (available for FREE in my TpT store), then peel and stick the labels to 3×5″ pieces of Astrobrights cardstock.

Free printables to make your own sight word flashcards

Click {here} to read more about how to create these word cards for your own classroom.

Classroom Alphabet Collage

I have also begun to prepare the alphabet portion of my word wall. We do Letter of the Week in my kindergarten classroom. Each Monday, I inform my parents of the current letter and one of my students’ weekly homework assignments is to find a picture in a magazine or newspaper that begins with that letter. As pictures trickle in throughout the week, we glue them onto a big cutout of that letter.

Letter of the Week Alphabet Collage

Click {here} to read more about my alphabet board and download FREE alphabet templates to create a similar board in your own classroom.

Classroom Calendar Set Up

The calendar area in my kindergarten classroom is one of the most important spaces of the room. I meet with my students daily in this area to discuss reading strategies, math concepts, and build community (all in addition to discussing traditional calendar topics).

My students love it when I let them lead the class in calendar updates.

Cute ideas and resources for creating a classroom calendar area

My TpT store has EVERYTHING you need to set up an adorable classroom Calendar. From number cards, to monthly calendar headers, to displaying what year it is, observing the weather, and MORE; Kinder-Craze calendar products will help your students learn in a clean and stylish format.

Cute ideas and resources for creating a classroom calendar area

FREE Events at School Calendar Reminder Cards

Remind your students (and yourself) of upcoming changes in the school calendar with my FREE Events at School Calendar Reminder Cards. Post these cards on your monthly calendar for easy reminders at-a-glance of half days, late start days, birthdays, assemblies, and MORE! Grab the free calendar reminder cards by subscribing below:

Through the Year Calendar Holiday Cards

After you grab your freebie, be sure to check out Through the Year Calendar Holiday Cards. This comprehensive set of calendar cards includes holidays and so many more special school events that allow you to build anticipation and remind students of upcoming events. This has become one of my top-selling products on TpT and I know you will love it too! Purchase Through the Year Calendar Holiday cards today!

A year's worth of holidays and special occasions to display on your classroom calendar

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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20 Responses

  1. I am so inspired by your classroom!! But I have to ask, how long did it take you to do everything? I am moving into a new classroom and I am a bit overwhelmed (ok, really overwhelmed!) Where do you recommend me starting to put my classroom together? A theme first? The book area? Organization? I would love to hear what you have to say Maria 🙂

    Thanks for all of the great ideas and free stuff!! My goal this year is to follow your blog and keep my inspiration going!! Thanks!

  2. I was wondering how you mount your calendar. From your pictures it looks like it on your whiteboard, and I love that! What do you use to put the date cards up each day, etc?


  3. Maria, I love your blog. This post was so cute and helpful. I am currently working on decorating my classroom with an ocean theme. I have been so busy coloring, decorating and creating! Looks like you’ve been pretty busy yourself! I think my favorite is the alphabet collages, I could definitely do that in my kinder room!

    I am looking for any tips on expanding my reach with blogging and tpt. I see you have been blogging for years. Do followers come with time or is there something I can do to expedite the process? Are there certain groups/forums to help get my name out there? I have been blogging and tpt(ing) for over a year now, and don’t have the follower base I want. I appreciate any advice that you have!


  4. Hi Maria! I love your classroom and you have inspired me to change up my room a bit by adding the black in with the bright colors that I have. I will be purchasing some of your products, too! Also, today I went to Big Lots and bought the same bright bins that you did. That place is addicting.

  5. I absolutely LOVE your calendar and I must make mine look like yours. Could you tell me where you got the letters that spell out Word of the Week and Letter of the Week or what font it is? Thanks!

    1. Hi Felicia and thank you! I spend so much time in my classroom and I want it to be a space that I feel happy and comfortable in.

  6. Hi! I love your work!! By any chance can these items be editable? I teach in Spanish but would love to use the same format 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Hi Emily,
      I’m so sorry but I do not have plans to make the labels editable at this time. The good news is that you can easily create your own using the label template in Microsoft Word.

  7. If you have no plans to make the labels editable, could you share the font and size? I have a problem and like when things match, lol! I would like to make a math word wall using the same style. Thanks!

  8. Hi Maria! Your room and products are adorable. I happen to have the same bins in my classroom as you do. I went to get more this week and would you believe it, Big Lots changed the colors this year!! I am so sad! No more hot pink, lime green or turquoise!! Now it’s deep purple, cobalt blue, and black!! If you know where Elise to get them please let me know!! Thanks!

    1. I wish I knew where you could go! I have scoured the internet looking for those bins and gotten nowhere. I am so sad for you!

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)


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