Summer is winding down, and every teacher has plans in the works as they look forward to the new school year. Whether you work in a public school, private school, or a child care facility, it’s time to make some plans to get your classrooms ready!
While we focus on the all-important interpersonal interactions that build relationships with our children, we need to think carefully and intentionally about how the classroom setup allows us the time to interact. We need to plan our days so that our kids have consistency, know the routine, and feel free to explore their curiosities.
Let’s take a look at a few things to consider. Remember, your classroom sends a message to children.
A child wants to know: “Do I belong here?” “Am I safe here?” “Is it okay to ask for help?” “Is this a place where my concerns and needs are noted and responded to?” “Will there be fun things to do?” “Will I make friends?”
A classroom that has inviting spaces, interesting and accessible materials, and provides TIME to explore sets the stage for all those wonderful teachable moments that make our day! A classroom that has a predictable flow, a warm and nurturing place where a child can choose how and where they play, or maybe has a place to find some quiet space does much to create opportunities to connect with their classmates and their teacher.
I've compiled a quick classroom setup checklist you can use while arranging your classroom this fall. If you need examples of classroom setups or materials you can use to promote different types of skills, the Teachstone Pinterest boards are a great resource to browse through.
If you need help planning your classroom setup, check out our webinar, Ready for School? Setting Up Your Classroom for Success. We discuss how the classroom materials teachers select, the setup of a classroom, and a daily classroom schedule work together to provide a foundation for great instruction that promotes social and academic outcomes for children.
So, it’s June and you have just wrapped up the year with your students. They have made tremendous progress over the course of the year. The routine of the day flows naturally, the expectations about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior is fairly clear to all of them (and to you), and you leave the school year feeling confident that they are ready for the new challenges that lie ahead. You go into the summer months looking forward to a much needed break, but also looking forward to your new group of students in the fall.
As a Certified CLASS Affiliate Trainer, I enjoy reading the discussion posts and responses in the CLASS Learning Community. It gives me further insight into the areas that teachers have questions about, and the responses and techniques that members of the community are sharing with others. Usually I just sit back, read along, and take it all in.
Then recently someone posted, “I'd love some great examples of what Quality of Feedback looks like when you're working with less verbal children. For instance... creating an effective feedback loop off of what a child does more so than what he or she says.”
Many teachers will agree that their first year of teaching can be one of the most grueling, challenging, and stressful experiences for them as they take on the task of educating our youth. In my first year of teaching, I was not familiar with the CLASS tool and its impact in the classroom. I was not aware of the dimensions, indicators, and the tremendous power of interactions. Looking back, I recognize the many ways the CLASS tool was reflected in my classroom, but I also see the value in how familiarity with the CLASS tool could have benefitted my classroom. Although many external forces impacted my role as a high school Spanish teacher, the CLASS tool’s invaluable purpose could have made a profound impact on my first year teaching.