Students crave structure, as do most of us. The atmosphere of learning can be greatly enhanced with just a few simple steps to get kids (and teachers) on track, and keep them there. Here are some simple ideas to incorporate into the class’s day which teachers will find helpful.
- Begin the lesson with a warm-up question which is already written on the board when students first enter and sit down at their classroom desks. The students will immediately be directed towards thinking about the day’s subject, or will have their memories refreshed with a question about the subject of the last lesson. Don’t make the question or assignment too difficult or long; remember it is just a warm-up. This exercise helps students to focus so they won’t be spending the first few minutes of class wandering around either physically or mentally.
- Have a clearly marked-well organized place for students to hand in their work. One idea is to have a set of stackable plastic trays set up near the door. Each tray is for a different class period, stacked in order. Graded work can be kept in a different place, such as a hanging file, until ready to be handed out to the students.
- Try to refrain from taking attendance by calling out the names of your students. This inevitable leads to joking around and distracts the students from the task of learning. After the first few days the teacher should know the names of the students, and be able to match the bodies to a seating chart, just ticking off those who are missing.
There are many other tips which can help improve the atmosphere of learning, including experimenting with lighting, placement of classroom furniture, and class decorations. Research has shown that a lively and varied environment surrounding students can help the creative process.