Archive for the ‘Classroom Presentation’ Category

I Give Myself an F for Classroom Design

December 7, 2014


I have a terrible case of classroom envy.

Whilst my colleagues dazzle with their colour coordination and classroom layout, I am extraordinarily inept in this department. Although an appreciative parent once said after I apologised about the look of my classroom, “I love what you’re doing with my child, I don’t give a stuff what your classroom looks like”, I feel like I am letting down my students. I also realise that the look of a classroom is a reflection of the amount of pride the teacher has for his/her room. I am ashamed at how badly my classroom’s look reflects what I really feel about the room and my wonderful students.

A video like the one above depresses me. I accept it was made to help teachers like me, but I know that copying these wonderful ideas would take me weeks if not months to carry out and the finishing product would be vastly inferior.

Is there any other teacher out there who finds setting up a classroom as stressful as I do?



Click on the link to read Would You Want Your Teacher Chair Replaced by a Yoga Ball?

Click on the link to read Worst Examples of Teacher Discipline

Click on the link to read Why Students Misbehave

Click on the link to read Being a Teacher Makes Me Regret the Way I Treated My Teachers

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management


Would You Want Your Teacher Chair Replaced by a Yoga Ball?

February 21, 2013


I try to use the following principle when reflecting on my students’ comfort:

If it isn’t comfortable for me, it probably isn’t for them

This is why I happily deviated from the time honoured tradition of having students sit on the mat. I once tried to sit with them on the mat and my back couldn’t tolerate it for more than two minutes. How are children supposed to maintain concentration when they are subjected to long arduous mat sessions?

The same goes for the latest fad – yoga balls. I know some find them extremely comfortable and they are meant to be great for posture, but my question is, would you swap your teacher chair for one?

In 11 years of teaching, ditching students’ desk chairs in favor of yoga balls is one of the best decisions Robbi Giuliano thinks she ever made.

Replacing stationary seats with inflatable bouncers has raised productivity in her fifth-graders at Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School, making students better able to focus on lessons while improving their balance and core strength, she said.

“I have more attentive children,” Giuliano said. “I’m able to get a lot done with them because they’re sitting on yoga balls.”

The giant rubber spheres, also called stability balls, come in different sizes, colors and degrees of firmness. By making the sitter work to stay balanced, the balls force muscle engagement and increased blood flow, leading to more alertness.

The exercise gear is part a larger effort to modernize schools based on research linking physical activity with better learning, said John Kilbourne, a professor of movement science at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.

Traditional classroom setups are being challenged as teachers nationwide experiment with yoga balls, footrests and standing desks, which give children outlets to fidget without disrupting class.

“It’s the future of education,” Kilbourne said.

If yoga balls really are the future of education, beware of some of this type of activity in your classroom:

Click on the link to read Worst Examples of Teacher Discipline

Click on the link to read Why Students Misbehave

Click on the link to read Being a Teacher Makes Me Regret the Way I Treated My Teachers

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does

Try Engaging Your Students Instead of Physically Shutting Them Up

September 20, 2012


If duct taping a child’s mouth is the only way you know how to maintain order in the classroom, you may want to find a new profession:

The mother of a Louisiana fourth grader whose mouth was taped shut by a substitute teacher who wanted to stop him from talking in class is seeking to bring criminal charges against the school district and the impatient educator.

“He just told me he didn’t want to go back to school no more, and he didn’t want to be friends with no one in his class, or the school,” Droddy told the station.

Only after school administrators talked to almost 100 students did she learn that a substitute teacher used red duct tape, normally used for arts and crafts projects, to quiet her son.


Click on the link to read Worst Examples of Teacher Discipline

Click on the link to read Why Students Misbehave

Click on the link to read Being a Teacher Makes Me Regret the Way I Treated My Teachers

Click on the link to read Useful Resources to Assist in Behavioural Management

Click on the link to read When Something Doesn’t Work – Try Again Until it Does

Classrooms the Swedish Way

September 11, 2012

Sweden has  new school system that is  eliminating all of its classrooms in favor of an environment that fosters children’s “curiosity and creativity.”

Vittra, which runs 30 schools in Sweden, wanted learning to take place everywhere in its schools — so it threw out the “old-school” thinking of straight desks in a line in a four-walled classroom.

Check out the pics below:



Click on the link to read Tips For Supersizing a Cramped Classroom

Click on the link to read Stricken With Self-Doubt

Click on the link to read Do You Suffer From Classroom Envy?

Click on the link to read The Classroom of the Future


Tips For Supersizing a Cramped Classroom

February 12, 2012

We’ve all had the problem at stages of our career. We’ve been allocated a classroom that is far too small to comfortably teach in. There is insufficient room for mat time and the children, especially the very restless ones, need more space to work in.

I came across a piece that attempts to make this problem far more manageable:

Even if your classroom is much cozier than you imagined, there are ways to stretch the boundaries. These “big” ideas will help.

There’s no question that a small classroom is a real challenge to arrange. When I walked into my kindergarten classroom for the first time, there was wall-to-wall furniture! I had half of a room and 27 children; there simply was not enough space to set up a proper kindergarten room. With a little ingenuity, however, I was able to orchestrate a workable classroom layout that met all my — and my students’ — needs. Similar strategies just may work for your small classroom:

  • Remove excess or over-sized furniture. Instead of a large piano, I brought in my small keyboard, which could be stored in a cabinet. Round and kidney-shaped tables were quickly adopted by other teachers who had more space. I kept only rectangular tables and a few desks in the room.
  • Store rarely used equipment out of the way. I arranged for media equipment, which I don’t use on a daily basis, to be stored elsewhere. I did keep one student desk, which I made into a permanent listening center by removing the legs so that it sat only six inches above the ground. The cassette player sat on top of the desk and the headphones were stored in the desk.
  • Consider carefully your furniture needs. Midway through the year, I decided my students did not need to have their own individual desks or table spots. Eliminating just one table from the classroom and placing the other tables around the perimeter of the room opened up a large center area for whole-group activities and provided space for centers, math manipulatives, reading, and writing.
  • Explore creative management techniques. Without the traditional seat-for-every-student arrangement, I struggled with how to engage the entire class productively. I finally hit upon splitting the class; half would work at the tables and half would work in centers. I alternated the groups, so that everyone could participate in both activities on the same day.

If you’ve had this problem before and employed some strategies for maximising space I’d love to hear about it.

Stricken With Self-Doubt

January 31, 2012

It’s the first day of a new school year tomorrow and I’m suffering from my annual bout of self-doubt. I get very anxious before a school year starts. I worry about whether or not I will succeed at helping my students. I worry about whether my style of teaching will work on a new bunch of kids.

The week leading up to the start of the school year doesn’t help. It’s a week that is set aside for preparing the classroom. This involves displays, fancy name tags and innovative ways to use a small space to enhance learning. The female teachers I work with put a lot of emphasis on the look of their classrooms. Borders are replaced around noticeboards, name tags are put on everything (and I mean everything!) and the fear of death is reserved for the poor laminator who cops the brunt of all this activity.

When it comes to developing fun lessons, I am very comfortable. When it comes to decorating a classroom, I am completely out of my league! I have been getting comments ever since I started about the plainness of my classroom compared to the other teachers. My bosses have pointed out that my classroom looks far less inviting and colourful. This year I put up a beautiful piece of red material to cover my noticeboard, before being told that children don’t learn well in a room of red. Apparently the colour red has a negative effect on concentration and creativity. The comments certainly made me see red!

Then there’s the endless diatribe from those in charge about new responsibilities and expectations that all staff need to adhere to. These usually involve devoting a great deal of extra time. If there is something all teachers have in common, it is the absence of any extra time.

Handover isn’t much fun either. As the previous teacher reads each name from the class list, every child is presented as difficult to teach. There’s behavioural issues, Aspergers, ADHD, ADD, Oppositional disorder, social issues, anger management issues, language disorders etc. What is it with psychologists today? They have turned every personality type into a disorder. Why is every second child on a spectrum? What is this spectrum, and how did it get to be so big? In today’s age, the one kid who can’t manage to get on the spectrum of any modern psychological condition probably ends up feeling left out and abnormal.

All this makes me very uneasy. I get very frightened. I desperately don’t want to let my students down.

Do You Suffer From Classroom Envy?

February 1, 2011

There have been a few realities that have caught me off guard since I signed up to being a teacher. The expectation of a meticulously presented classroom is certainly one of them. I’m not an artistic person. My creativity comes from writing and thinking innovatively, but I am inept at decorating. Design school’s nationwide are not flocking to mimic my inimitable low-key style.

I knew that a classroom should look bright, contain student work and be aesthetically pleasing. What I didn’t know, that I have seen learned, was that teachers are inherently obsessive with the look and feel of their classroom. From the table layout to the perfectly hand-crafted posters and signs. Teachers are constantly shopping for material, furniture and accessories to beautify their classroom.

Often it’s a competition. The other day I complemented a colleague about her majestic looking classroom in the presence of another colleague. Only later was I told that by praising that colleague I had potentially upset the other who was already anxious about her classroom not matching up to others aesthetically.

It reminds me of the Christmas lights battle that takes place in some neighbourhoods. What starts out as an expression of good will and festivity, can sometimes turn in to a competitive slugfest. I am not a competitive person at the best of times. In this context, my classroom isn’t simply inferior, compared to the others it looks like a jungle.

My bosses past and present have continually made insensitive comments about the look of my classroom. It’s not as if I don’t try. Sure, it doesn’t size up to the others, but I still maintain it possesses a quaint charm (well that’s my spin on it anyway).

I once apologised to a parent about the look of my classroom during a meeting. The parent responded by pointing out that she doesn’t care what the classroom looks like, just as long as her child is happy and learning well.

Is that representative of other parents? Is it a case of style vs substance? Or, perhaps I am depriving my students of a classroom they can be more proud of. Perhaps like my students I have to improve at skills that don’t come naturally to me. I have to get better at cutting big, beautiful, cardboard letters for my brightly coloured welcome sign.

Is this just my experience? Are there other teachers who have an insecurity over the look of their classrooms? Are any of you envious of the classroom next door?

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