Four Tips for a Positive Classroom Environment
With over 20 years in the classroom, I’m convinced of the fundamental importance our physical classroom has on learning. Google “learning environment,” and you’ll find thousands of articles supporting the crucial role classroom atmosphere plays in educating students.
When designing my room, I want my students to enter, breathe a sigh of relief, and know they are in a safe and supportive space. A student who feels calm in a classroom is a student whose mind is open to learning. A chaotic atmosphere only breeds a chaotic, distracted mind.
There are a few strategies I’ve used over the years to help create a positive classroom environment.
- Keep it tidy.
Dusty shelves and pieces of trash. Sticky desktops and dirty boards. Ultimately, the cleanliness of our room falls to us. Our students’ need for a clean environment is part of creating a space conducive to learning. Spend just a few minutes at the end of the day picking up trash. Wipe the desks and clean boards weekly. Dust monthly. Everyone feels more relaxed in a clean classroom.
- Keep it organized.
Piles of papers, stacks of files, random supplies. Everything needs a place to eliminate clutter. Yes, as the day gets busy, our rooms get messy, but daily prioritizing organization creates a glorious feeling of satisfaction. Students feel the same way. They are much less distracted and more learning-focused when a classroom is clutter-free.
- Keep it positive.
I create a yearly theme, and my classroom is filled with sayings, quotes, posters, and pictures encouraging that theme. Additionally, know that a consistent color palette creates continuity which is important for students with special learning needs or those who are easily distracted. The goal should be to create warmth and belonging while maintaining simplicity.
- Keep it informative.
When considering how to add decorations to your room, we need to provide students with visual cues directly related to content. Interactive bulletin boards are a fabulous resource to keep students learning and engaged. The internet is full of examples and resources for engaging classroom ideas.
Our hearts are reflected in the four walls our students look at each day. The environment we create isn’t about the money we spend—it’s about the heart we display. Our kids see the care we take to provide a space that says, “You are welcome here.” Feeling loved, they can breathe in the calm atmosphere and then open their minds to what we have to teach.
For more ideas on teaching environments, consider these money-saving tips from How To Create Classroom Christmas Decorations On A Budget.
About the Author
Heather Iseminger is a self-proclaimed hoarder of words and caffeine addict. She holds a BA in English Writing from FSU, as well as a Masters in Education. She and her Prince Charming, Mike, have been married almost 25 years and have two children, Ella and Caleb. Five days a week Heather’s in her high school English classroom with coffee in hand, surrounded by the students she adores. When she’s not juggling family and teaching, she’s an award-winning freelance author and blogger. You can find her heart at Petals of Joy on Facebook.