Physical Learning Environment
When creating a positive physical learning environment, you must consider the physical items and resources in your room. Cailtin, you have already established a positive physical environment, however here are some more suggestions to help you improve your classroom.
There are a number of ways that the student’s desks can be organised in the classroom. The desks can be set up in groups, pairs, rows and a U shape. All desk arrangements must ensure that the students can see the board and the teacher can see all students from the front of the room. The teacher and students should be able to move freely around the desks and be able to see each other during class discussions.
If there are students with particular behaviour or learning needs, the teacher must ensure that these students are positioned correctly in the classroom. If there is a student with Aspergers or Autism, make sure they are positioned away from visual, sensory or auditory distractions.
Once the class had been allocated, it is important to include the students in decorating the classroom. This is done so the students feel part of the class and connected to other students, as well as the learning environment. To decorate the classroom, teachers can:
- Take photos of the students and stick them on stars with their name on it to put on the inside of the classroom door.
- Create a birthday calendar.
- Ask the students to decorate their name to be used on their bag hook and book tray.
- Create cards with the students name on it to be used on the student’s desk.
- Create a class emblem in the initial weeks, which includes a class motto. This will be displayed on the inside of the classroom door above the children’s pictures.
- Display the student’s work samples around the classroom.
- Display posters and print to assist the students during learning activities.
Other Work Areas
The students will mostly be working at the front of the class on a mat or at their desk however, the students will also have access to other areas to do their work. These areas can be created to give the students variety and a place to go if they require time out from learning activities. Other work areas may include:
- A reading corner used for quiet reading. It may include a small lounge with lots of cushions and rugs so the students can relax and read to themselves. There may be a selection of books in this area and students can also use the space to ‘chill out’ if they are feeling upset.
- Computer desks can be used for completing learning activities on the computer. The computers can also be used during free time, or as a reward for students with behavioural needs.
- An art area to be used during visual art activities as well as for free time. The art supplies are available for the students to use under teacher supervision. The students should have their own paint shirts and clean up after themselves once the area has been used.
A noise-o-meter can be used in the classroom to let the students know what level of noise is required during the lessons. This will be used to indicate when the students are to work silently, talk quietly, participate in class discussion or are working too loudly.
Resources and Supplies
Within the classroom the students should be able to access resources and supplies they require. Resources may include, but not limited to, items such as scissors, crayons, glue, exercise books, coloured paper, paints, textas, reading books, games, etc.
Konza, D, Grainger, J & Bradshaw, K 2001, Classroom Management: A Survival Guide, Thomson Social Science Press, South Melbourne, VIC.
Porter, L 2006, Student Behaviour: Theory and Practice for Teachers, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW.
Rogers, B 2008, The Positive Behaviour Leadership Model, In C Edwards, Classroom Discipline & Management 2nd edn, 240-263.