I wanted to share 3 simple classroom management steps that you might be over-looking. These ways to improve classroom environment may look small, but they are mighty! If you are finding that your students are rowdier than you would like or have a hard time settling into to work time, you are likely looking for ways to shift this energy.
A positive, calm, and learning-inducive classroom environment is key to academic and social-emotional health and growth. It’s also important for your mental and emotional health. I noticed this for myself this school year.
With my worries about having an observation at any given moment, I have been running a “go, go, go/work, work, work” schedule in my classroom. It has been to the detriment of the positive and effective class environment that I normally keep. I realized that my students (and me, too, to be quite honest) need time during the day to decompress and to just breathe and refuel. Putting these 3 ways to improve classroom environment back into my daily practices will help to shift the momentum back to a more positive, uplifting, and healthy state.
These steps are simple AND they are easy to apply, implement, and maintain. The three ways to improve classroom environment that I am sharing can be complete game-changers for you.
1. Quiet Time
3 simple ways to create harmony in your classroom.
Turn off or turn down the lights in your classroom. Give your students a chance to calm or settle down. They can draw a picture, read a book, put their heads down to rest, or give them some time to write in a personal journal.
2. Quiet Reading Time
This is one of my favorite times of the day.
For quiet reading time, you’ll need to put expectations and procedures for this time in place on the front end. Looks like, sounds like, feels like…. Once students know the what, how, and why behind quiet reading, this time can be very productive and beneficial to your students. You can help strengthen reading ability, practice reading skills, build reading stamina, and help to foster enjoyment in reading.
Let your students choose where they sit or lay, and let them cozy up with a warm book.
3. Read Alouds
This includes reading poetry or reading pieces that challenge students’ thinking.
Read aloud aren’t just for little learners. Older students typically genuinely enjoy being read to. You just have to have the perfect combination. 1. That just right book that your students would be intrigued by and 2. your magical and theatrical reading ability. Combine those two elements and your read aloud time will be the highlight of the day.
Grab a chapter book and read a chapter a day. Get some thought-provoking poetry and watch their wheels turn and their creativity spark. If you need an academic tie in, have students draw or journal about their response to the chapter or poem. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. Give everyone 4 minutes of sustained writing or illustrating time. Four uninterrupted minutes can be powerful and productive!
These techniques sound so simplistic, but they have a big impact. They each give students, and yourself, an opportunity to redirect and rebalance their energy and refocus their attention. Give them a try for a few weeks and see how they impact your classroom. Let me know about you and your students’ experience in the comments below.
If you are looking for resources to help improve your classroom environment, you may like:
Virtual Learning Behavior Expectations resource and blog post
Have an amazing, productive, and peaceful week!