All-American Teacher Tools: 5 tips to change the atmosphere in your classroom

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

5 tips to change the atmosphere in your classroom

Your classroom may have become a static entity because you are so involved with hybrid learning, keeping your classroom disinfected, and oh yeah, formulating interesting and educational lessons.  However, changing things up a bit, even slightly will help engage your students and stimulate their creativity.  Here are some ideas:

  1. Change the bulletin boards, seating arrangement, or virtual background as often as possible. Weekly might be a bit of overkill.  But every two weeks of change will go miles to helping kids feel like their education is evolving.  Yes, this is a bit of work, but just one change – a new poster, a new bulletin board background, or even a bouquet of flowers on your desk, will be appreciated by your students, even if they don’t tell you as much.
  2. In the real classroom, there are some funky odors!  I’m currently retired, but my classroom was directly across from the gym. Ugh!!  The gym odors wafted into my room!  Then I started adding a bowl of orange rinds on the table just inside the door.  What a difference that made!  My students came in and remarked how fresh the room smelled.  Aha!  They do notice some things other than what’s on their screens!  So, in addition to raising my immunity because I brought an orange for lunch every day, the orange odor both calmed and stimulated my students.
  3. Plan for active lessons.  Instead of keeping your students in their seats for a full period, or more than 20 minutes at a time, plan for lessons that make them get up to stretch, or when the COVID crisis is over (Will that ever happen? I hope so!), have them move around the room for various activities.  See my resource, The Kinetic Classroom, for ideas.
  4. Add background music occasionally.  I found that when students have background music (think spa channel or “elevator” music), they tend to focus on the task at hand, such as math problems during a test or writing a rough draft. 
  5. Finally, if you are having trouble engaging your virtual students during a zoom meeting, have them change their names from Fred and Keesha to their favorite book, TV, or movie character.  At the very least, you'll get a smile from them when you call their name!
Change is good!  Look around your classroom.  Is it the same as it was in September?  Ouch!!  Do yourself and your students a favor and change things up a bit.  Do more than change the seating arrangement.  Change other areas of your room as well.  And maybe you can't implement changes immediately, so make a list of things you want to change, and then as you get the time and energy, go ahead and revitalize your room every once in a while!

1 comment:

  1. I love this tips, especially music. I often use different styles and cultural music to enlarge my students’ horizons.


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