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Classroom Displays Can Motivate Your Students!!

Classroom displays, such as banner displays and exhibit displays, help to make your classroom a stimulating and motivating environment in which to learn! I know I've said it before but it really is important. Aside from classroom bulletin boards there are other places in the room where students' work can be displayed. Look around your classroom and try to utilize all areas, without making the room too busy and claustrophobic. Here are some of my classroom display ideas which really brightened up my classroom and made my students proud: * I had a room where one side had a counter top. So I used it to display projects, diaramas and student models. * Use the side or front of students' desks to hand their work for display. * Hang displays (for example, planets) from the ceiling with string and paper clips. Just make sure you check your school's fire regulations before you do anything. * On one side of the room tie a rope or a clothes line from one end to the other. Clip up (with clothes pegs or paper clips) students' art or other work. * Depending on your blackboard space, put up some unit information, for example on the Canadian provinces. * You can also use the space below the chalk ledge or side walls for other display ideas that you or your students may have. * I'm a very positive person who is always looking for posters that convey positive messages for student motivation. I place these types of posters on my classroom door - front and back and around my room. * My classroom job chart creature (e.g. octopus displaying jobs on each tentacle) was also displayed along with my classroom rules, grammar rules, creative writing information which were all printed on chart paper or on colorful posters. I am sure that you realize there are other things to display besides student work and unit information.

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Your Classroom Layout Here's What's Important to Know !!

Your classroom layout and classroom furniture (e.g. classroom desks, classroom tables, etc.) are important to help motivate and stimulate your students. A classroom that is comfortable, friendly and colorful creates a very positive learning and social environment for your students. You finally get your own classroom. You walk around the room your eyes darting everywhere. There are sooo many classroom layouts that you are imagining, but it all comes down to what works best for you! Stand in the 4 corners of the room and try to picture how everything will look. Draw some of your classroom layout ideas. Things to consider: 1. Where will your desk be? 2. How many student classroom desks do you need? 3. What classroom seating arrangement of the desks will you use; for example, groups,rows, U shapes, rows but in groups,etc? 4. Will you have any classroom computers? Where will you put the classroom computer tables? 5. Will you have a carpeted area, away from the students' desks, where you can all come together for classroom meetings,etc.? 6. What other additional classroom furniture such as filing cabinets, bookshelves,working tables will there be? 7. How many classroom bulletin boards will you have? 8. What other classroom display ideas are swimming around in your head?

All these questions and many, many more to come. It's crucial that you get different perspectives of the room and draw various class layouts and again - remember, it's what's best for you and your students. Visit other classrooms in the school and in the same division as you. Don't be afraid to ask other staff members what worked best for them and why. Also keep in mind that nothing is bolted to the floor. Try out different classroom floor plans and if one's not working for you and your teaching style, change things around. As I mention on my classroom seating page, I LOVE groups. It worked best for me and my students and how I taught. At the back of my room, I had: * A computer for my students. * A large carpeted area which I utilized for classroom meetings and discussions, playing classroom games, reading aloud. * A large round working table used by my students or myself. * Filing cabinets and finally * A comfortable armed chair which only I sat in facing all my students. Occasionally, the caretaker moved my desk from the front to the back of the room. WOW - it sure was a different way of looking at my classroom. Hopefully by now I've provided you with some initial insight into the classroom layout design for your classroom.

Classroom Seating Arrangements Make the Most of Them!!

Throughout the year I preferred to organize my classroom seating arrangements (classroom desks) in groups. Eventually you have to socialize and work with all types of people later on in life, why not start now!!

At the beginning of the year (2nd or 3rd day), I arranged the classroom desks in groups, either 4,5, or 6 people in each group. After 6 to 8 weeks it was time for them to move and they chose who they sat with. They couldn't sit beside, across from or diagonally across from a person in their last group. They also had to give me their seating plan and where the group would be sitting in the room. I had the final say of changing someone around if I felt there might be some issues(e.g. too friendly with each other, or couldn't see the front of the class). When all the seating plans were in, students could move. They were now working with new classmates and seeing the class from a different perspective. By doing this, every 6 to 8 weeks, students would eventually sit with everyone in the class, get to know each other personally and perhaps form new friendships by the end of the year. Group seating is also better for doing group work, distributing materials, calling students up to see me, and dismissing them. "Try it, you'll like it". It worked for me!! P.S. If possible I also changed my desk around. Sometimes I sat at the back of the room, which brought a whole new perspective to me.
Classroom Seating Charts

Classroom seating charts are an excellent resource for supply teachers to identify students who are absent and to allow them to call on students by name for answers, discipline issues,etc. Some principals also liked to view the classroom seating chart when visiting a class. I would keep mine handy by drawing a simple diagram at the front of my daybook.

Classroom Decorations Help Create a Motivating, Learning Environment !!

Classroom decorations were always very important to me! Want some great classroom decoration ideas, keep reading. I always wanted my classroom to be a fun and welcoming place for students, parents and other visitors.

I had an open door policy (start with classroom door decorations) for anyone to come in with the only exceptions being when the students were writing a test or when we listened to music during art class. I used various decorations throughout the year depending upon the season. Primary grades seemed to have a lot of classroom decorating ideas - more that the junior grades - perhaps a lot more were displayed because of the age of the students. But for me, my classroom decor really stood out during several months of the year because of the celebrations held during those months: * October (definitely) - Halloween * November - Remembrance Day * December - Christmas and similar religious holidays * February - Valentines Day * March - St. Patrick's Day * March/April - Easter

It is important that students play a important part in decorating the classroom. When students feel ownership of their classroom, it motivates students and creates a positive learning environment. Encourage students to suggest their classroom decorating ideas based on their different cultural backgrounds. You can display pictures, posters, etc., originating from the different countries and cultures. My students loved putting up the decorations and we left them up all month. Always save the decorations for the following year. Read about my tips on classroom bulletin boards or classroom displays to put your imagination in high gear and get you ready and excited to design your own classroom.

Classroom Bulletin Boards A Great Motivational Tool. Here's the How and Why!!

Classroom bulletin boards in addition to enhancing your classroom's appearance and providing information will also help to build your students' self-esteem.

Displaying their work for others to see motivates them to learn, work and produce good quality results.
Decorating Bulletin Boards

I always changed my bulletin boards. The only thing I never changed were my cursive alphabet cards. They remained on the bulletin boards at the front of the classroom since I always had printing and hand writing lessons right up to Grade 6 (you have to print forever - whether you're labeling or filling out an application). Do you have a fascinating classroom bulletin board idea? How do you decorate your bulletin boards? * With the help of a couple of high school students, we used sponges to dab the bulletin boards with three different colours of paint (e.g. red, green, and blue). It was bright, the boards absorbed the paint (no tearing like wallpaper or paper). * If you cover the bulletin boards first, don't use construction paper because it fades terribly. My suggestions are to use fadeless paper or wallpaper (you can get the roll ends from decorating stores for nothing if you tell them you're a teacher - that's what I did.) * Go to stores such as Scholar's Choice and choose different kinds of borders; for example, positive sayings perhaps with colored pictures on them. The students put up the borders which beautifully framed the bulletin boards. * By the way, I hated going up on a ladder but the students loved it. Just be sure to check with your principal first to get his okay and be sure to supervise them. My classroom looked great and ready for school. Now what do you put on your bulletin boards?
Classroom Bulletin Board Ideas

You should always divide up your bulletin boards in the classroom to display different subjects in your curriculum - whether its your information or the students' work about a specific topic. Want some suggestions of what to display on your classroom bulletin boards: * Students' art (I had art each week, so the displays changed weekly). * Creative stories that have been written by the students. * Science diagrams * Hand-drawn scenes with a written explanation * Pictures and information on a unit, for example, rocks and minerals, pioneers,etc.

* Make sure the bulletin boards have a title. Students love to help putting up their work. Definitely let them!!

Student Motivation is a Necessity. Here's How to Achieve It!!

Student motivation, especially intrinsic motivation (the motivation that comes from within ones self), is a critical part of the education process. Motivation is a necessity so that learning becomes a continuing, improving, interesting and hopefully enjoyable process. I say "hopefully enjoyable" because although you as a teacher try to make learning fun, your students should understand that learning is the goal, the fun part is just nice to have. As I'm sure you know, most people can be intimidated when it comes to doing or learning something new - they would just prefer to maintain the status quo, it's easier. You as a teacher, must develop and encourage classroom motivation, i.e. think of and find ways to motivate students to reach their potential, their goals and their dreams. However, having said that, students must also share in the responsibility by doing some things for themselves, such as: * Set realistic goals for themselves, (based on their desires, not on what others may say)and thus become more motivated to attain their goals. * Understand that achieving one's goals takes work and may involve some risk. Learning is work and can be risky to your self esteem when you try something new, admit you don't know something and have to ask for help.
Create Student Motivation in the Classroom.

There are so many ways for you to develop student motivation: 1. As mentioned above (but worth repeating), encourage them to set to set goals. 2. Give students more control - a chance to create their own personal choices. Establishing their own rights, is a very resourceful motivational technique. I'm talking about students choosing their own ways (with your agreement of course) of completing assignments, learning new or complex tasks, etc.

3. As much as possible relate assignments and class projects to real life situations. 4. Practice the assertive discipline (positive discipline) techniques that I discuss in my Classroom Discipline page 5. Of course most teachers will come across students who will be very difficult to motivate and who will not care about what happens in school. You have to create incentives. There are ways to motivate students such as these. Doing unique activities, creating situations where they can work in small groups, creating a reward system are just a few ideas. Teaching in primary grades is quite different than in junior grades and so is student motivation. Read about the reward systems that I have set up for students in primary grades to motivate them to learn and for students in junior grades to increase their level of motivation; BUT please keep in mind that the reward system should be treated as a reward for finishing a task not for just participating. Want some of my helpful suggestions on Classroom Awards as well as many very useful and colourful certificates, awards and school passes without having to design the them from scratch? Be sure to click here to go to my page on Classroom Awards. 6. Having students help with some of the many jobs that need to be done in the classroom, will not only make your life as a teacher easier but classroom jobs are also a great student motivational tool. 7. Games are fabulous classroom team building activities which are great for creating motivation in the classroom. It's amazing how it does wonders for students' self esteem and camaraderie. Read about a few of the motivational classroom games that I found successful. 8. Another of my favorite classroom activities for team building was a classroom meeting that I called Special Talk and Student of the Week . My students loved it! This is another excellent student motivational tool. 9. Read about two very successful classroom contests that I implemented, that my students loved and were invaluable in motivating my students and helping to establish discipline in my classroom. 10. Motivate your students with some of these math word wall strategies. 11. Always remember that humor in the classroom is a great way to motivate students. Read this page and find out why humor in the classroom is so important.

12. Motivating students to read has always been a challenge for teachers. Motivating students to read doesn't have to be taxing and stressful. Click here and read about the effective methods that I have used to to encourage and motivate my students to read. 13. One great motivational tool and an excellent educational experience are field trips. Be sure to read my page on school field trip ideas to get some effective field trip ideas and planning strategies. 14. Another great motivational tool is using the smartboard to deliver your lessons. It's great for encouraging student participation and interaction. Read my page on smartboard lesson plans to learn what they are all about. Three important thoughts to keep in mind as you finish reading this page: 1. Always display care, concern and encouragement for your students. 2. Never give up on any unmotivated students or they will give up on themselves. 3. Going hand in hand with building student motivation is building student self esteem. Be sure to read my page on Student Self Esteem and learn to incorporate building self esteem within your daily lesson plans. It's crucial.

Classroom Management It Can Make You or Break You!!

What is Elementary Classroom Management? That is such a broad question, but what a HUGE and CRUCIAL one!

It encompasses sooo much and whether you speak to teachers in primary, junior or intermediate levels, you will get a varying degree of classroom management philosophies. It clearly depends on the teacher and what works best for his/her students. From the start and throughout my teaching career, my own class management ideas changed and depending upon the school background (culture), the grade, administration, and my students. Your own management skills will evolve and improve and so enhance your teaching techniques and teaching style. Read some of my pages described below that deal with the many different facets of elementary classroom management:

Classroom Discipline - I am a great believer in assertive discipline. Read my ideas and methods to instill a positive climate in the classroom that promotes student motivation and self-esteem. Classroom Behavior Management - where I provide some very useful examples on handling common and difficult classroom behavioral issues. Classroom Meetings - Find out what you as the teacher need to do to lead an effective classroom discussion and have useful class meetings. Non Verbal Communication - teaching strategies can be very effective in achieving classroom discipline and creating a respectful and positive classroom environment. Classroom Rules - Establishing classroom rules and expectations the first week of school is crucial! It sets the tone of how you want your class to run and let's the students know what's expected of them early in the year. Learn about the basic classroom rules that I insisted that my students follow and the teaching strategies behind them. Classroom Time Management - Effective time management in the classroom is important for delivering successful lessons that keep your students interested and motivated. Read my tips on the HOW's and WHY's! Humor in the classroom - is a necessary component to successful classroom management. Read this page and find out why humor in the classroom is so important. School Manners - it's up to you as an educator to teach school manners, continually reinforcing them and maintaining them in your classroom and throughout the school. Teaching Split Classes - It doesn't have to be as difficult as you think. Read my teaching strategies and be ready for the challenge. Substitute Teaching - Being a substitute teacher in any classroom can be quite a challenge. Follow these essential tips for substitute teachers and not only will the school be happy to invite you back in the future, but it will also make your day(s) of substitute teaching productive and enjoyable. When you're away, you pray for good substitute teacher help. All motivated teachers want to be sure that when they're away, that the teacher responsible for their class has a relatively easy time handling the students and is able to carry on with the lesson plans and daily routines as effectively as possible. Be sure to read this page on helping your substitute teacher and relieve your concerns about your students and classroom when you're away.

So as you can imagine and will find out as you read these pages "What is classroom management?" is truly a loaded question!