Back to School: Setting Up a Positive Learning Environment

This week was a whirlwind with the first day of school on Tuesday and two days later, Back to School Night. After engaging in a conversation about setting up a classroom environment that is conducive to learning with parents and teachers, I decided to share my classroom space, beginning of school materials and philosophy in setting up a positive learning environment for my students.

The Landscape of My Classroom:

The set up of my classroom,  the colors, decorations are all influenced by brain theory.  My classroom is beige with green accents. I do not put up boarders or tons of posters around my room because I find them to be a distraction and chaotic for my students. Green is a calming color that represents nature and the environment. I even have two comfy green chairs that students can do work in. The necessary learning tools are available to students to access: pencils, whole puncher, and pencil sharpener.  Behind closets and cabinets I store additional supplies for easy access: highlighters, colored pencils, markers, glue, scissors.

There are three different learning spaces in my classroom. I have adapted these learning spaces from ISTE 2015 Convention. The center of the room, the tables are in a U-shaped organization. This is the space where I teach mini-lessons and face the SMARTBoard. This area is called the “campfire” where we learn from experts and participate in group discussions.

In another area of the room I have set up tables in quads for small group and collaborative work. This area is referred to as the “watering hole” and this space allows me to work with small groups and even teach mini-lessons in small setting to target skill development.

For my students who prefer to work alone, there are areas of desks off on the side for students to work quietly and independently. This space is called the “cave.”

The walls in my classroom highlight learning outcomes, student exemplars, and book title suggestions. I have found some awesome ideas on Pinterest that inspired my Homework board and the board that posts my CCLS, Learning Goals and Essential Questions.

I was also inspired by Pinterest in revising my syllabus for this school year. And took my template from Everyone is a Genius Blog. I got a ton of positive feedback from parents and my principal about this document.

For Back to School Night, I shared these slides to give parents additional insight in my classroom teaching and philosophy.

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