How Effective Teachers Bait the Hook to Reel in Students
The physical environment of a classroom is made up of many components, such as furniture, board space/area, classroom management tools, decorations/themes, equipment, centers, etc. Sometimes options can be frustratingly limited! However, with some general learning styles information and a plan, you can hook your students without even saying a word!
Whether you are aware of it or not, you begin setting the tone for a school year even before students enter the room for the first time. You spend hours (and hours) organizing, planning, and decorating to prepare yourself for that first day. As students and parents wander curiously into the room, they get their first impression of what the year will be like. What is your physical classroom environment communicating to your students and to their parents?
Where do I start?
The first, and probably easiest, consideration when planning the classroom environment is you.
- What style, structure, and layout do you prefer?
- Are you more comfortable with students in rows, in groups, or would you rather the desks disappear altogether?
- What “center” areas do you find value in and feel comfortable managing … listening center, computer area, reading corner, science table, art centers, etc.?
- What is your teaching style?
- Do you prefer direct instruction, cooperative learning, individualized instruction, or a combination of these?
Your preferences are a great starting point because they are part of the teaching and learning style to which you are drawn. They are your hook.
When school starts, however, you will have students with multiple learning styles in your classroom. Before putting your plan into action, you’ll want to find a way to make children of all learning styles feel comfortable and secure in their learning environment.
Blues need to feel that they are part of the process and that they make a difference. They are typically very creative and enjoy sharing their talents with their teachers and their classmates. They usually prefer to work in cooperative environments.
Desks arranged in small groups, a comfortable living-room type reading area, charts waiting for group input, writing centers, art centers, and student helper board would all be attractive to a Blue learner.
This group, typically, likes order and tradition. They are interested in knowing your expectations and specific requirements.
Clearly posted rules, classroom schedules, student job boards, assignment calendars, and other functional displays would be their preference. In addition, these students tend to prefer the traditional’ classroom set up where the students sit in orderly rows and the teacher stands up front and center.
This type of learner prefers a classroom where they have the freedom and empowerment to think. They like books, computers, maps, charts, diagrams, science centers, areas where they can explore, and opportunities to show what they know.
Science centers, message/opinion boards, computer centers, classroom libraries, and bulletin boards that push them to think and investigate would be tops on their list.
Orange learners like to be free to roam around. They learn best when things are exciting and active. They like to experiment with different classroom roles and don’t want to be forced into one. They tend to be concrete thinkers.
Hook an Orange learner with bright, eye-catching displays, a game center, and bulletin boards that invite participation. Set up learning areas that are a bit more casual and involve hands on elements.
The Final Plan
If you take a close look at all four groups, you will find some preferences that can be bridged. For example, Blues what to have a say in the process and Golds want clearly posted expectations. So why not have a class rule making session and, when agreed upon, the rules can be clearly posted. Then you will have met both needs.
Find the bridges and the similarities. Add them to your preferences, and complete your plan. Then roll up your sleeves and put it into action.
By adding a preference (or two) of each learning style to the physical classroom environment, you can create the hook that will create a positive first impression and a fantastic beginning to the school year.