A classroom is more than just a place where students go to learn the academics. A classroom is an environment that teachers create to transform the whole child both academically and emotionally. It’s a place where students learn manners, respect, responsibility, how to be a friend, conflict resolution, and so much more. In order for these to be achieved, a classroom environment needs to be healthy. The tips below can help you create this type of classroom for your students.
What does healthy look like?
- Freedom to move if necessary
- Variety of options for places to work
- Freedom to make their own choices (with guidance when needed) about what works best for them
- Kids willing to make mistakes and share those mistakes with others
- Kids have a say in classroom setup, routines, learning, etc.
- Teachers greet their students with eye contact and use their name as they walk in the door in the morning
- Social emotional learning is a core focus
- Students appear comfortable yet know their boundaries and the rules and expectations are consistent
- Classroom doesn’t have to be perfectly decorated but it’s important that students see their hard work on display
- Team building and collaboration happens frequently
- Books about respect, responsibility, honesty, kindness, empathy, self confidence, etc are available to students
- Students and teachers have a mutual level of respect for each other
- Lots of smiles
- Solid and consistent character education lessons are taught
What does healthy sound like?
- Kids talking-both about their work and their own interests
- Kids knowing when to stop talking to respect the speaker and other learners
- Conversations when poor choices are made about consequences and the effects of their behaviors on others
- Teacher voice not being the primary one in the classroom
- Laughter-both students and teacher
- Like a beehive-on task conversation and excitement in the tone. (Class does not have to be quiet to be engaged.)
- Sounds of students taking risks and encouraging one another
- Students apologizing when necessary
- Place where please, thank you, you are welcome, I made a mistake, I am sorry, excuse me, and I forgive you are words that are spoken frequently
- Calm, relaxing music throughout the day to help students focus
What does healthy feel like?
- A feeling of “This is our classroom family” instead of “This is Mr./Mrs. class
- True caring about each other
- Feels like a safe place and that it is okay to make mistakes and challenge themselves
- Students care about order and proper care of things in their classroom
- Not a room of perfection but works in progress
- Cooperation over competition
- Students are comfortable asking questions
- Mutual respect between students and teachers
- Praises and encouragement from both students and teachers
- Students know what to expect-there is a routine
- Good balance between focused work, brain breaks, and relationship building
Are you passionate about teaching character education and fostering social emotional learning in your classroom? If so, we’d love to have you join The Encouraging Classroom Teacher Club! We are a group of heart-centered 1st and 2nd grade teachers who have a passion for teaching the whole child. We do this through daily 15-minute activities that are all provided for us! Learn more about it below!
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