Organize for Students and Teacher

  • Think carefully about where important supplies will be located and whether or not students will have easy access.
  • Have a place for students to submit work so they always know where it goes.
  • Have a place to put returned work if a student is absent.
  • Have a place to keep records of in-class activities, reminder notes to the teacher (a life saver), tardy sign-ins, etc.
  • Reserve a bookshelf for dictionaries and other texts students will need regular access to.

Consider Aesthetic Appeal

  • Lighting - a few lamps (or better: natural light) can go a long way to improve the atmosphere
  • Artwork - walls with appealing images on thñ

Allow for Choice

If your space allows, consider creating different areas of the room for different types of activities (for example, a few chairs or a couch reserved for reading time). Also consider allowing students to make choices about how to use the space(s) available to you (including hallways, outdoors, etc.). Remember also to allow students to move around or stretch every-so-often to prevent brain-dead or sleepy learners.

Go Beyond the Norm

Having water available in the classroom cuts back on unwanted interruptions. Having mints available cuts back on complaints in small-group work. Bob Tierney uses "bad day blocks"--little red blocks that students can place on their desks if they're having a particularly bad day, which gives students some control over how much focus is on them during a tough time.