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Classroom Environment

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Katherine Lawrence Katherine Pulley 1235 Points

What are some ways to help students feel more comfortable in the classroom? I want my students to be open to try/learn new things and develop a respect for one another. I also want my students to be excited to come to class. I plan on having a relaxed classroom while enforcing approrpiate school beavhior and expectations. Are there any ideas that could help my students feel welcomed and appreciated in the classroom?

Stephanie Wendt Stephanie Wendt 3225 Points

From the first day of school, ask your students to help you come up with your classroom rules, along with the positive and negative consequences for following/not following them. This gives your students ownership in your classroom expectations. Also, take time during the first week of school to do "getting to know you" activitites. This is when you can find our your students' interestes, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses, and family dynamics. When you take the time to get to know your students, they will know you are invested in them, and this helps to develop trust. Take time to listen, as well as, talk. You will become a very important figure in their lives, so taking action to develop bonds with your kiddos is essential to success.

Send positive notes home

Make occasional phone calls home just to brag on students

Plan some fun team building activities (STEM activities are fun!!)

Greet your students with a smile!

 

Charissa Barnhill Charissa Barnhill 1644 Points

From the moment they walk in your room, start to build relationships with them. Get to know them not only as students but also as individual people! They mostly want to know that you care about them, and once they know this, you will be surprised at how much they open up when in your classroom. 

Lawrencia Young Lawrencia Young 500 Points

On the first day I would have the students come up with classroom rules and procedures that everyone could agree on. Also within the first week I would also assign classroom jobs based on behavior, attendance, and participation. When jobs are given to students from my experience it encourages other students to stay on the right track so they are given a chance to get one of the job titles. There is nothing wrong with being relaxed, but not too relaxed. Some students will take that and run with it to the point of looking at you as being soft and a push over. 

Bree Gryp Bree Gryp 355 Points

Hi Katherine,

It is great you are thinking of ways to keep students excited about learning while making sure they are appreciated and loved in your classroom! Building relationships with your students is the first and foremost thing you should be working on throughout the year. When students see you as someone they can trust and they know loves and cares for them, they will be more likely to be engaged and want to learn. To build this relationship find out what they enjoy doing, support them in academics and life, give them words of affirmation, and encouraging them. You also want your students to build relationships with their peers, and like you mentioned, for them to respect each other. I think you should do team building activities as a class to build morale and trust within your classroom. When students are collectively engaged and comfortable, growth and development can happen academically, socially and emotionally. Modeling respect and care for students is another way for students in turn to respect their peers and you as the teacher.

-Breeyn Gryp

 

Blake Alexander Blake Alexander 520 Points

Hi Katherine, 

Ask your students, what they are excited about learning in your class? What do they want to learn about? 

Asking your students what they think will show them that you care about their opinion.

Noah Christians Noah Christians 320 Points

Ask students about their lives, their interests and hobbies, and about what they find really helps them learn. That way, you can bond with your students, allowing you to have a connection with your students. Research constructivism. It is a great way to connect with your students while also teaching your students. 

Mary Potter Mary Potter 715 Points

I think letting them know right off the bat that they are in a safe space when they are with you is extremely important, but it's also important to match your words with actions. Be there for them, give them a space to feel like they can open up, and never pressure them to do or say things that they are not ready to. As for your environment, make it warm and welcoming. Do not go crazy with a bunch of decorations because that may be overwhelming. Neutral and calm colors always helped me feel more relaxed. Good luck!

Zach Millan Zach Millan 609 Points

On our first day, we had the students sign a contract stating what their responsibilities were as well as my responsibilities were as their teacher. We then agreed on rules of the classroom which helped students feel like they had a say in the order of the classroom. As Stephanie pointed out, learning who your students are is the greatest tool for having a positive classroom environment. When they can see that you care, they will do anything to be on your good side!

Kate Mellon Kate Mellon 990 Points

I also think it is very important to have a welcoming classroom where students feel comfortable, because this will allow them to feel safe and learn their best. From what I have observed in different classrooms, it is very important to do ice breakers with the students so they can learn to open up with one another and build a trusting relationship. Not only is it important to do ice breakers at the beginning of the school year so everyone can get to know each other, but it is important to do ice breakers all throughout the year, so those relationships can continue to build even stronger. Having classroom rules where all students are on the same page so they understand their expectations and that they need to be respectful to everyone will also create a comfortable classroom enviornment where all students feel safe, because they know there are rules set in place and consequences that will occur if rules are broken. Overall, building a relationship with your students will allow them to see that you're a human too and are there to support them, help them learn, and you want the best for them. This will allow students to open up to you and feel more comfortable, which will allow them to work the best they can. I heard one time that, "children don't learn from people they don't like". So, as long as you build a relationship withe ach of your students, a safe, comfortable, and welcoming environment will be created.

Kallie McMurphy Kallie McMurphy 1860 Points

When reading through all these comments I agree that it is important to build relationships with students and to see them as people. As I think about reading science, I think some practical ways to do that in specifics to teaching science would be hearing what each student is curious about and what drives them, then incorporating that maybe as phenomena. I also think teaching science in a way that is interesting and fun, where students have to problem solve, be hands-on, and discuss would make a better classroom environment. 

Jake Schulke Jake Schulke 1035 Points

I would intentionally spend time every week getting to know them as individuals somehow. The more you know them and the more they get comfortable listening to and participating in those conversations the more they will open up. I start the year with several "about me" type exercises and activities, and then do things every week that help students express who their are, how they are feeling, what their lives are like, what they care about, et cetera. This seems to have a natural tendency to help them feel more comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions a lot more freeely without fear of judgement. I teach 8th grade, and they are terrified of embarassment. Somehow we still get more of them talking out loud about science by the end of the year.

Mercedes Bennett Mercedes Bennett 465 Points

Ways to help your student feel welcomed is to get to know them. Show every student that you care about them not only as a class but as an individual. Something that I do with each of my students is as they walk in I greet them and give them the option of either giving an air hug or doing a 3 second dance. Something I also do is give them brain breaks, when I feel they are getting overwhelmed I stop the lesson and either let them stretch or watch a Gonoodle dance video, and finally I reward good behavior. If the class was good during the week, I would bring them a treat as a small incentive. If they didn’t do too well, I would let them know what they need to work on for the following week.

Elizabeth Martin Elizabeth Martin 365 Points

Hi Katherine, you asked about creating an environment that your students are willing to take risks and try new things. One thing my professor told our class last year was that you need to create a classroom dynamic similar to a family. In a healthy family dynamic, everyone supports and cares for one another. If you are real and honest with your students they will know and appreciate that. This means you need to be unafraid to try new things and take risks. Show your students it's okay to fail. Maybe make a mistake on purpose and then have a conversation with the class about how it's okay. This shows your students that learning is a lifelong experience and failing isn't a bad thing, just another way to learn something new! 

Sarah Campbell Sarah Campbell 375 Points

Hi Katherine, 

Your discussion post had great in-depth questions that teachers should think about even if it is just another year of teaching. Every year, the students we have are going to be different but we need to create relationships with all of them. If students have trust in us, they are going to feel more comfortable in the classroom and be prepared and ready to engage in learning. Also, the more comfortable students are, the more you are going to learn about them. Having rules and expectations in your classroom is important because it shows who is in control of the classroom, and students will know their role. Find what works the best in your classroom, and soar with it.

- Sarah Campbell 

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