Thanks to its partnership with publisher Eye on Education, EducationWorld is pleased to present this blog post by Eye On Education's Senior Editor, Lauren Davis.
It’s time to start getting the classroom ready for a new group of students! Think beyond the usual rows of desks and bulletin boards of student work. How else can you arrange your classroom to help students learn and get them excited for your class?
In her book ’Tween Crayons and Curfews: Tips for Middle School Teachers, Heather Wolpert-Gawron offers great suggestions for setting up the classroom. Here are some of her classroom must-haves:
Reading/Library Area: a place for shelves full of books and pillows for students to sit and read comfortably on the floor.
Sitting Area: a place in the front of the room for students to sit on the floor and be closer to you during lessons. Heather explains that it sets a nice tone when students can move from taking notes at their desks to taking notes at the front of the room with a clipboard. In addition, it helps students focus because they’re not stuck in the same seat for too long. Note that this setup works for older students, not just young ones.
Student Work Displays: more than one area where you will display student work throughout the year. Have students decide how the work should be displayed. They can arrange the background, borders, etc. This will make them feel more involved in your class.
Content in Context Display: an area for sharing articles, photos, quotes, interviews or Web sites that show how your subject matter will apply later in life. For example, if you teach science, include information on scientific discoveries and/or science’s role in current events.
Weekly Agenda: a place where you list the agenda for the week. You can do this on a dry-erase board mounted on the doors of a cabinet. Students come in on Monday and write down the agenda for that week. Doing so helps them learn time management and plan accordingly.
Long-Range Timeline: an interactive bulletin board that’s a timeline of each quarter. Students help to create it. You can use icons for assessments and sticky notes with details of each day’s lesson, so that students who were absent can see what they missed, and so that all students can see how their learning has progressed.
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