Virtual Classroom Setup Ideas for Teachers at Home

This school year is unprecedented in so many ways. But the main difference between 2020-2021 and previous school years is the fact that many educators are teaching virtually from home rather than in an actual classroom.

For teachers who are facilitating remote learning through videoconferencing this fall, it's important to have a space that not only looks visually appealing to your students and mirrors (to the greatest extent possible) a backdrop they might see in a real classroom, but also that is comfortable for you and will allow you to effectively maximize learning.

We searched social media for examples of great at-home classrooms and also asked educators for tips and ideas to bring a teaching space to life. Here are some insights on setting up a remote classroom this fall.

Setting Up a Virtual Classroom for Remote Teaching

Your virtual classroom setup doesn't have to be too complex. Fifth-grade teacher Ariel Goldberg (@ariel_goldberg3 on Twitter) wanted to create a space that felt as much like her actual classroom as possible and successfully did just that. She displayed books, Harry Potter trinkets, and examples of her students' artwork. Her advice to teachers in a similar situation: "Create an area for yourself that’s away from other living spaces (if possible!). It really makes the transition from work/home easier at the end of the day."

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For third-grade teacher Kathryn Cook (@MrsKathrynCook on Twitter), a decorative setup was integral to her feeling more comfortable with remote teaching. She hung posters with inspiring messages behind her desk and neatly arranged her supplies, creating a visually-appealing background and warm classroom environment for her students. Her advice: "Make sure it’s a comfortable and functional space. I tried to make mine look as similar to my room at school and cozy. In the spring, I worked at my kitchen table, and this setup makes me feel like I am really teaching again!"

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Here's another good example of a teacher (@thatteachertaylor on Instagram) incorporating inspirational quotes into her setup to foster a positive at-home classroom environment. Another good idea: hanging a whiteboard in the background where she can write assignments and post reminders for students and their families.

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Below is yet another simple yet effective setup! In a separate Instagram post, second-grade teacher Nixi Noriega (@home.sweet.classroom_ on Instagram) highlights remote classroom must-haves, including:

  • A planner or notebook, which is key to stay organized
  • A piece of decor with an inspirational message
  • A whiteboard (the only thing she needed to actually go out and buy)
  • Storage space, such as a big rolling cart
  • A ring light or a lamp
  • Interactive tools
  • Something that you find relaxing (in her case, essential oils and classical music)
  • Something that you love (in her case, plants)

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Don't be afraid to add some color to your setup! Caroline M. (@CareTeachK on Twitter) did exactly that, and made sure her remote classroom was tailored to the youngsters (in kindergarten) she teaches on a daily basis—complete with alphabet and number charts, a whiteboard, a weekly calendar, and stuffed animals (Clifford is even wearing a face mask!).

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Last, but certainly not least, is the at-home classroom of Miss Couceiro (@iteachmsscience on Twitter), an eighth-grade science teacher in Connecticut. Her remote classroom setup has it all: a calendar, a bulletin board, and an inspirational message, along with all the supplies she needs placed neatly next to her computer monitor and keyboard.

And that's a wrap! We hope these virtual classrooms provide some inspiration as you kick off the school year from home. Remember, just because learning may not be taking place in an actual classroom this year, there are still ways to create a warm, positive environment for your students (think social-emotional learning!).

Have more tips on setting up a virtual classroom? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter!

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How are you navigating a remote and in-person school year? Explore HMH Connected Teaching and Learning to address instructional planning, remote teaching and learning, equity and access, and professional learning.

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