The school year is about to begin, and you need to set up your classroom. You unlock the door, walk into the room, and take it all in. This classroom is about to change.
The classroom is not just your space but your students'. Impressions matter, and you want to start off every day on the right foot. What should you do to make your classroom a positive, safe, and welcoming learning environment for your students?
Use these 5 tips to transform the classroom from a boring place to a beautiful space.
#1: Make the space clean and organized
Like any other room in a house, your classroom should be clean and orderly. Studies indicate that a good working and learning environment can enhance the experiences that occur.
For students, a good environment can limit distractions and boost their confidence to put their best foot forward.
Your checklist for cleaning and organizing should include:
arranging furnitureand students' desks (consider seating charts)
cleaning out the closets and desk drawers (and throwing away last year's materials)
organizing your supplies so they are accessible (consider labels and organizers)
sweeping the floor for dust and trash
How clean and organized the classroom is shows how much a teacher cares about the learning environment. Prioritize this first impression so students feel safe the second they step into your room.
#2: Display inspirational people and quotes
A classic but effective element of creating a warm classroom is highlighting inspirational people and quotes.
Positive role models and affirmations in the learning environment can support students when they feel discouraged, especially if these people and words reflect parts of their identity or beliefs.
High schoolers are at a crucial stage in their lives where they are exploring who they are and the world around them. Having a positive role model to look up to inspires students to follow their examples for success. This supports their personal and academic development to build self-confidence and self-efficacy.
Inspire your students by displaying:
people of diverse backgrounds and experiences who are making a difference in their community and the world
positive affirmations (ex. growth mindset over fixed mindset)
quotes about positive character traits (ex. perseverance, empathy)
Mr. Jimenez is setting up his new history classroom and wants to include decor that promotes acceptance and diversity. What might be the top two types of decor themes he'd consider?
#3: Include aspects of your personality
Your classroom should reflect who you are as a person! Consider humanizing the space by sharing a little about yourself, such as a favorite sport or television series. Show who you are by displaying fun posters and small trinkets on your desk.
Students may feel intimidated by teachers because of their authority as an adult and educator. Ease the tension by showing the fun side of you to show that you're more than just a teacher and share many interests and hobbies with them.
Having things in common builds trust and community, which canfoster positive relationships and a welcoming environment. However, don't feel pressured to open up if you prefer to keep your life private.
#4: Show off student work
Students make up the culture of the classroom, and their work and community should be reflected in the learning environment.
Highlight your students' efforts and achievements by displaying their work in the room. Students get excited when they see their work on the wall as they can point to it and say:
Students of all abilities should have their works displayed. When high schoolers see their and their peers' work posted, they learn from each other and realize that their efforts matter. This builds a supportive growth culture of progress over perfection, which makes the learning environment an inclusive space for all learners.
Some students would prefer their work to not be on display. Ask beforehand if they're okay with their work being displayed or opt to cover their name on the assignment.
#5: Establish a Classroom Community
Establishing a classroom community will foster belonging and security among the students, which will contribute to a positive learning environment.
A strong classroom community upholds a positive classroom environment by:
encouraging students to support each other
decreasing behavioral issues through positive peer influences
helping students recognize their worth and realize they belong and are valued
enabling students to do their best as they know they have someone to support them if they have a question or make a mistake
High schoolers are heavily influenced by their peers, so having the support of everyone in the classroom will boost the morale of the learning environment and help everyone succeed.
Whether you've inherited an abandoned classroom or a newly built one, make your classroom a place your students look forward to visiting.
An inclusive and positive learning environment encourages all students to be their best selves. With a welcoming classroom and a dedicated teacher like you, your students are ready to put their best foot forward.
Hear that? The school bell is ringing!
Make your classroom a positive learning environment by: