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Back-to-School: Guide to Taking Classrooms from Good to Great

Back-to-School: Guide to Taking Classrooms from Good to Great

The Nature Reading Cube can take your classroom from good to great.

Must-Haves #1-#3: Bring nature indoors with the Nature Reading Cube (ANG1535P), Friendly Fern Rugs (CPR3074, CPR3075, CPR3076 & CPR3077), and Woodland colored pillows in 12”, 17”, or 27” sizes. (CF650-561, CF650-562, CF650-541, CF650-543, CF650-545, CF650-540, and more.)

With back-to-school just around the corner, kids are not the only ones who commonly experience the feeling, “Summer is almost over, and it seems like it just started!” Parents, teachers, and caregivers often feel it too. If your goal is to take your classroom from good to great this fall, now is the time to get started.

Back-to-School Greatness: Start by Thinking Outside the Box

Doing something completely different in your classroom for back-to-school can be scary. Not everyone feels 100% comfortable being a trendsetter or thinking outside the box. Yet, modeling certain behaviors for children is pivotal to their learning process. Talk to your kids about how it felt to think outside the box and do something different. When you reveal the human side of you, how you struggled with fear in the beginning, you will be modeling what it looks like to be an overcomer.

Good to Great Top 10 Must-Have for Back-to-School - Message Center

Must-Have #4: Our Message Center (ANG9045) is great for organizing teaching aids as well as when used as a check-in center to keep notes regarding when children arrive and depart or organize artwork to send home at the end of the day.

Be Proactive

People today are constantly on the go. You can choose to start being more proactive about setting aside time. If slowing the pace down is what you need, Just Do It. Block off 1 hour in your schedule twice a week to devote to making your classroom great. Brainstorm. See where your devoted brainstorming sessions take you. You could be amazed.

Believe It Is Possible

Believing in yourself can be difficult. Start by making a commitment to think positively and formulate solutions to some common frustrations such as:

Model Problem-Solving Skills for Kids

Helping kids develop problem-solving skills is often a focus for educators. Let’s show kids how it’s done by conceptualizing some solutions to whatever might potentially be holding you back.

1) Loosening the Purse Strings:

Did you talk to whoever holds the purse strings at your school to explain all the benefits and what you plan to accomplish if they spend some money on certain items in your classroom? You might even be able to propose your classroom be a testing ground to see if the results are tangible enough for the administration to splurge for every classroom to implement some of your ideas for back-to-school. Plan ahead. Use pictures. Create a PowerPoint. Clear goals and showing you have done your homework will help win over administrators.

Must-Have #6: Mobile Teacher Stool

Must-Have #6: Don’t forget the teacher! Mobile Teacher Stools (ANG1854 or ANG1619) give the teacher or caregiver a place to sit. It provides storage for teaching aids and is easy to roll from space to space. (ANG1854 pictured here.)

2) Long Term VS. Short Term Focus:

Sometimes kids are not good about expressing how grateful they are. Even parents tend to lack in this area sometimes. Processing a love for our teachers may not occur for many, many years. Surf Google or social media to explore how thankful people are to have had such amazing teachers and caregivers. You will see how much love the average person has for their teachers and it might change your mind. It will redirect a short-term focus to a long-term focus.

3) Creativity Not Required:

Tap into everyone else’s creative genius by researching ideas for your classroom on the internet. It’s been a game-changer for those who lack in creativity. The internet makes it extremely easy to find ideas on Pinterest and other platforms, which means you don’t really need to be creative to blow your students away with how awesome your classroom is.

  • Example of a great Pinterest board.
  • Teach Starter
  • Go to any Public Library website. They have amazing kids’ spaces from which you can glean ideas.

    Good to Great - Must-Have #7 Rest Mat Storage Trolley

    Must-Have #7: More storage solutions are always coveted in classrooms. The Universal Rest Mat Cart (AFB7930) allows you to store a lot of mats in one small area. Mobile, the cart rolls on casters to make moving from space to space effortless.


4) Merge Work Time with Family Time:

When time is scarce, then try implementing some creative ways to carve out more time without sacrificing anything important. For example, ask your spouse and kids to help you come up with ideas for making your good classroom great. Next, make the implementation of ideas a family event. Together, you can all share the ownership of this project. Your kids will have fun and feel great about their accomplishments at the end. Additionally, you will feel confident you have not sacrificed family time for the sake of your classroom.

Start a GoFundMe Page

Write and Wipe Easel - Must-Have #5

Must-Have #8: The Write & Wipe Easel with Storage (ANG1568).

If you are going to be successful in taking your classroom from good to great, you must believe you are able to execute once you formulate a plan. Pump up all the self-confidence you can muster and take the road less traveled. Start having unwavering faith in yourself. Your decision to believe you create your own experiences – good or bad – is going to be empowering.

Stumbling blocks become stepping-stones when you take proactive steps towards achieving your goals. What if you started a GoFundMe page and tried to raise money to make your classroom great? Read some fun success stories to get your mind in the right place.

Act Like an Olympian

Must-Have #9: Mobile Drying Rack

Must-Have #9: The Mobile Drying Rack (AFB7920) is the all-in-one art station. It features 2 magnetic dry-erase boards kids can also use as easels for painting by clipping paper to the dry erase boards. It’s mobile, has a storage shelf on the top and bottom, and racks for artwork to dry. What more is needed?

Successful Olympic athletes often embody a thought process that includes the following:

  • They believe they can win.
  • Winners often visualize themselves doing something before they actually do it. Olympic athletes use visualization and imagery to practice before they actually get to the Olympics. According to a NY Times article in 2014 on the subject titled, Olympians Using Imagery as Mental Training, “Visualization has long been a part of elite sports. Al Oerter, a four-time Olympic discus champion, and the tennis star Billie Jean King were among those using it in the 1960s.”

Pro Tip:

Reprogram your subconscious mind by listening to daily affirmations to focus on your goals and begin thinking like an Olympian.

Ready for the Adventure?

Good to Great: Must-Have #8

Must-Have #10: The 5-Roll Paper Rack (AEL7600) ensures littles always have the materials they need for art activities.

Change is always difficult. The choice to take your classroom from good to great is undoubtedly going to be a wild ride. Are you ready for the adventure? Find out more about CF’s Top 10 Must-Haves for Back-to-School 2021.


Woodland Pillows – 12″ – Light – Set of 6

Woodland Pillows – 17″ – Light – Set of 6

Woodland Pillows – 27″ Dark – Set of 3

CPR3077 Friendly Fern Rug – Brown – 144 x 96

CPR3076 Friendly Fern Rug – Brown – 108 x 72

CPR3075 Friendly Fern Rug – Blue – 144 x 96

CPR3074 Friendly Fern Rug – Blue – 108 x 72

ANG1535P Nature Reading Cube with Artificial Grass Mat

ANG1568 – Write & Wipe Easel with Storage

ANG1619 – Mobile Teacher Stool – Blue

AFB7930 – Universal Rest Mat Cart

AFB7920 – Mobile Drying Rack and Art Easels

AEL7600 – 5-Roll Paper Rack

Amazon Store: Back To School Must-Haves

Go2 Bean Bags 35″ and 26″ in an array of colors

ANG9045 – Message Center

ANG1854 – Mobile Teacher Stool – Brown