More Ideas to Create a Classroom Atmosphere for Learning Styles Pt.3

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.  ~ Proverbs 19:20, NLT

Here are some final thoughts about the classroom atmosphere for learning styles.

I mentioned the hard spaces in the classroom and have a couple more to address, but I will also include the soft spaces and other things around the classroom to consider.

Though many classrooms have carpet, it isn’t soft and comfy, it’s practical. Soft items generally need to be brought in.

·         A small couch if you have room and it is approved; an English teacher in one of the middle schools where I taught was able to do this and use it fairly among her students. She simply created a rotating schedule and allowed it to be used during work or reading time.

·         Floor pillows can be used in the same way. You may want to store them in a plastic garbage bag to help keep them dry and bug free. Use you room-mom by asking her to pick them up at the end of the week or every other week for a washing.

·         See if your Special Ed teacher or OT has a wiggle cushion or two that you can borrow. Many times they are used for kids with ADD or autism to help the “wiggles” when they are sitting in a chair. I had a student that fractured her tailbone and this was something that relieved the discomfort when she sat; she also used my high counter when she needed to stand for a while.

Did you ever consider your desk as a place you share with students? For me, that was a space for my stuff; the rest of the room contained all the items students would need for the day. I know possessive sounding, but I am a very organized person and I keep things that were off-limits to my students. Maybe some of you can relate. It was an approachable space for student, but they couldn’t help themselves to items in and around my desk.  

·         We all allow students to approach our desks when they have a question or need to check their work with us when we aren’t circulating the room. Kids need to know we are approachable while at our desks even if there are items or parts of our desks which are off-limits.

·         Allowing a student to sit near or behind your desk may help them concentrate on their work because they can’t see what is happening around the room .Pulling their desk up to yours won’t help because when you are there, they are paying attention to students coming to you and the work you are doing. Let them sit on the floor comfortably and out of sight from others. This is not a punishment, but a learning environment.

Addressing the window and lighting issues….

·         Everyone knows that good lighting is important. With that said; you my work in an energy star school and energy conservation may request that you turn lights out during the day. I had two set of lights in my room, one bay being brighter than the other. When I had all lights on it was very bright and gave some students headaches. I learned that my bright bay of lights worked for everyone in my room because the dimmer bay wasn’t bright enough and also gave students headaches. So, play with the lighting if you can, but always provide good lighting.

·         Some teachers like to bring in their own lights to bring in the warmer lighting we have in our houses. Whatever works for you and your students creates an atmosphere for good learning.

·         Some schools don’t allow for open windows due to climate controlled buildings. Sorry if this is where you are, fresh air is so nice to have if it is allowed.

·         Even if you can’t open the windows, consider how they work for you and your students. For some it is a distraction that brings on daydreaming (not always a bad thing if it gives your students an occasional brain rest). However, it is best to keep the students which are most distracted away from the windows.

·         Consider students who like space around them as good candidates for the window seats. They feel less “Claustrophobic” and feel they have more breathing space.

One last note:

Have sharp pencils ready every day. Do you have a student or few who are always sharpening their pencils? These kids like to be tidy in their writing and prefer a sharp pencil all the time.

·         If you have a time of day that you allow for pencil sharpening, mine was at the start of the day and after lunch, make certain students sharpen two pencils and then allow others to have a turn. Some students are fine with just two for the day.

·         I also make it one of my classroom jobs. I have one-two students sharpen a bin of pencils during those times so that anyone can grab a sharp pencil throughout the day. PS. I have two sharpeners in my room to speed up the process.

·         I have several hand-held sharpeners near the trash bin for quiet sharpening during the day.

·         You might want to keep an old sharpener designated for colored pencils. Colored pencils will clog-up and can ruin your sharpeners designated for just regular pencils. The handhelds are good for this purpose too.

This ends my posts on classroom environment. If you have others, please add them in the comment section. Thanks!

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