Among the many things teachers have to face every year there is one in particular most of us dread, how to decorate our classrooms.
There is nothing worse than staring at a bare classroom with blank walls and wondering what to put up and where to put it. After all, organizing a classroom is no easy task since there is a lot to consider and usually on a very limited budget. Nonetheless, soon after our creativity kicks in and we start to envision the colorful possibilities. We start to picture the displays that will give our classroom life and personality. We imagine how to organize our materials and where to put spaces for activities. We start to dream of how our classroom decoration will set the desired atmosphere in our room. Children need sufficient space that is well lit and is comfortable for learning and playing. A well maintained classroom sends a message young children that is welcoming and inviting. But our decorations and classroom organization accomplish much more than just setting the atmosphere. The way a classroom is organized can also contribute greatly to learning. We need to ask ourselves, how our decorations can enhance student learning. Many of us often underestimate the effect that a poorly decorated and organized classroom can have on students. What hangs on the walls and the way children feel has enormous potential to facilitate learning. On the other hand, research actually suggests that there are certain types of decorations that detract from daily learning. What we use to organize our classrooms needs to be carefully decided and shouldn't be overdone. So, what should a perfect ESL classroom have?
7 Awesome Elements Your ESL Kids Classroom Needs to Have
Age Appropriate Furniture
Children need the right furnishings to meet the demands of their daily activities. Basic furniture such as tables and chairs should be sturdy and appropriate to the size of the children in the group. Children need to be comfortable. They need to have proper body support, and focus on learning, playing, and routine activities rather than their own discomfort. Soft furnishings and toys allow children to relax and get comfortable.
Rules are an important part of life at school. Kids need to know what is expected of them what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Teaching them the rules is just as important as teaching anything else. You can make a set of rules yourself and share them with the class on the first day or ask them to help you set the rules. Either way, the message will be clear. Find a good spot to put up a poster with classroom rules and they'll never forget them.
Posters need to be useful. A pretty poster is just taking up wall space unless it’s helping the kids learn, retain, and utilize their skills. When students are paying attention to you they learn from you. However, when students aren’t paying attention to you, they’re looking around the room. Posters with useful content provide an opportunity for more passive absorption of information.
There are lots of options where posters are concerned. You can buy them or have kids make them. Posters made by students are more meaningful to the kids. They also tell visitors more about what’s happening in your class.
Bulletin Board with Their Work
When students see their own learning work publically displayed, they obtain a unique sense of pride. It’s a public affirmation of that student’s value. Kids need to know that others value their work. Work that is created by the children individually or together should be displayed in the classroom at the child's eye-level. This promotes feelings of positive self-esteem and sends the message to kids that their work is valued and appreciated.
Cozy Area and Book Case
Cozy areas provide a space for quiet activities to occur and should be protected from active play so children can snuggle, daydream and lounge. A reading corner where we can find a bookcase is ideal for cozy areas. Here kids can read their favorite books by themselves, to each other or simply listen to a story told by the teacher. It's a great place for them to unwind and clam down. The cozy corner can also be used as a place where children can escape from the pressures of group activity. Providing a child with opportunities, space, and time to be alone can contribute to positive classroom behavior. Some children experience high levels of stress when exposed to constant activity and interaction. Well-defined areas for specific activities where materials are accessible help children to understand about organization and also to put things away to their proper place.
A Fun Corner
This corner should be as far from the cozy corner as possible. This is where you will keep toys and games. If you have enough room you can also use this area to play games. If that is the case remember to make it safe.
Holidays are a part of our everyday lives. So, why leave them out of our ESL classrooms? Making holiday decorations is a lot of work but you don't need to do all the work yourself. Getting help from your students is an amazing way to make your classroom beautiful for the holidays
So as you move when you want to set the tone in your classroom this year, make sure that you consider what impact your choice of decorations will have.
Think about atmosphere, but also think about the learning your decorations and classroom organization can facilitate. They are not just