Classroom Environment

I am passionate about making connections and building relationships with students in order to create a classroom environment conducive to learning. One way that I found that helps build such a climate is to have a neat, orderly, organized, color coordinated classroom (No Reds, Bright Yellows, Bright Oranges on the walls).  This did not happen naturally for me. I was taught to use the brightest, most vivid colors and to cover every inch of your wall with STUFF.  I found after training with HET Highly Effective Teaching that colors really do alter the tone and setting of your classroom. Keeping colors simple and borders plain, with no designs on the borders, helps focus on the student work that is being displayed instead of away from the board to the edges.  I had to totally redesign my classroom and my thinking after 23 years of teaching. It was very hard at first to take all the STUFF off my walls and only put up what we were studying at the time. I actually painted my main wall navy blue instead of Bright Canary Yellow. That automatically created a sense of calm in my classroom. I covered my cluttered shelves with light blue curtains, I used light blue fabric for the backing on the bulletin boards and for my curtains on my windows. I bought all white baskets to display my books. I painted my book shelves dark blue and gathered all the navy blue chairs from other classes so mine all matched. I added plants to all the children’s cooperative learning tables and had lamps on in the room. I never had all the lights on at the same time, it was too bright and hurt our heads and our eyes.  The kids loved it!!! I loved it and we all felt very comfortable learning in a cozy environment. Notice in the video below how the Procedures are displayed for all to see. The Conceptual Map is displayed so anyone who enters the room will know what the students are studying throughout the entire year.  The Immersion Table is powerful and is a natural hook for visitors and students alike. They can’t wait to see what is on the Immersion table that relates to their learning that week. Have a quiet place for your students to escape to if they are having a horrible, no good, very bad day….. we called it “Australia”.  Students would listen to classical music on the ipod, do some relaxation exercises and relax if they had a bad morning at home. Maybe mom and dad got in a fuss, or a pet died, or a friend was mean on the bus, or you had an argument at recess.  It was a place to refocus and gather their thoughts.  My classroom was the happiest part of many of my students’ day and I designed it that way……… the safest and most conducive environment for learning.

2 thoughts on “Classroom Environment

  1. Julie Bosworth

    I really enjoyed this blog post and video. For years, I taught a SC class for students with emotional disabilities. I really found that classroom organization was an integral part of creating a calm environment for learning. I definitely believe color and the use of color can impact whether a classroom feels calm. Too much color or the wrong colors create too much “buzz”. I also like the use of lots of visuals to assist with class routines as well as to communicate “what’s going on” in your classroom. When I was trained to teach children with Autism, one of the first things I learned was how to analyze challenging behavior. The model for analysis was a series of concentric circles. The outer most circle is about the physical arrangement of the room. In other words, when things are challeging, the first (and easiest) place you look is to the room itself to see if changing something in the physical environment will change your situation for the better. I felt like that’s part of what you are also trying to convey with this blog posting: physical arrangement and organization of the space are important classroom tools.

  2. Amy Jacob

    This post was extremely helpful. I was always of the mindset that a colorful bright classroom would be inviting to my students. Since their entire environment is beige and dark I had hoped that having a bright environment to spend a portion of their day in would somehow brighten their day. I now understand that a more soothing enviornment would be more condusive to learning and helping to maintain their focus.

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