As a teacher, I spent a lot of time creating a positive classroom environment. After all, even with great lessons and curriculum, it can be hard to be effective if your classroom is distracting and your students don’t feel valued. Here are a few tips to create the ideal classroom environment.
Red and orange tend to be distracting. On the other hand, blues and greens are much more calming. You can also purchase light filters that reduce the glare of fluorescent lights. These changes can help prevent eyestrain and reduce children’s feelings of anxiety.
I always spend a lot of time arranging the desks. Personally, I either used group seating (in groups of 4-6) or in a u-shape where everyone faced the teacher. I found that these desk arrangements helped students collaborate and feel included in the discussion. This way there weren’t any students far away. I also made sure to have plenty of space so I could walk around and easily help all of my students. You may want to leave room to have a comfortable reading area with pillows and a soft rug. Finally, have a quiet area in your class for kids to finish work. Don’t be afraid to switch your desks around if things aren’t working.
I hate having piles of paper and school supplies everywhere. It’s always hard for me to relax when there is clutter everywhere in my house. The same goes for the classroom. The best way to organize is to have plenty of baskets and organizational units. Having baskets for kids to turn in their work gives them direction. I recommend using many of Rick Morris’ strategies for keeping kids engaged and organizing your classroom.
Student Work and Bulletin Boards
Having student work posted helps kids feel valued. I changed my bulletin boards frequently to keep things interesting. I also put up posters, poems and definitions to help students with their work. One thing I like is putting up a clothes pin (stuck on the bulletin) and giving kids the opportunity to choose what work to display.
Making sure students feel comfortable and valued is one of the most important ways to create a positive classroom environment. Children don’t all have to be best friends but they need to respect and support one another. A great book to read and incorporate into your classroom is Reaching All by Creating Tribes Learning Communities by Jeanne Gibbs. The book “shows teachers how to reach students by developing a caring environment.”
There isn’t one ideal classroom environment. Each teacher has to learn about their students and developmental levels. However, these tips and resources are a great jumping off point.
More from Melissa:
How to Be a Less-Stressed Teacher
5 Reasons Parents Shouldn’t Complain About Teachers on Social Media
How Involved Should Schools Be in the War on Obesity?