Faculty Bulletin #__: Learning in the Classroom
Now that the initial paperwork that seems to inundate us at the beginning of
the school year is subsiding, I would like to turn our collective attention toward
learning in the classroom, which is, after all, our reason for being here.
For the past several weeks I have been visiting classrooms and have observed, in
many cases, students actively involved in their lessons. Unfortunately, the
conditions of the classrooms are not the environments you would expect to see.
The effective classroom environment is a shared learning community. The
environment should reflect the affective and cognitive tone of the school.
Materials, furniture arrangements, displays, and libraries should facilitate group and
independent activities. Rooms must be attractive and orderly. Students’ work
should be on display and displays are updated to reflect daily instruction. To
maintain this effective classroom environment, rooms must be kept neat and clean.
Untidiness and disorder, marked by teacher negligence tends to encourage
slovenly habits in the children. Teachers must set the standards and
consistently insist on them. It takes time to maintain an effective classroom
environment but it’s worth it.
Here are some helpful hints that will assist you in maintaining an acceptable
1. Decorate your room tastefully. Start with a pleasant atmosphere, which
the children can emulate.
2. Be neat yourself. Keep your desk neat and clean. Do not clutter up the
3. Discuss the need for a clean room with the children.
4. Act at once when you see children litter. Don’t allow paper to accumulate
on the floor.
5. Have monitors take the basket around regularly.
6. Don’t let students write on desks.
7. Before you leave at 2:50 P.M. make sure all desks are emptied of papers.
8. Wardrobes or Lockers must be free of paper and books. This is a fire
hazard and health hazard. Books that are being stored in wardrobes must
be boxed, sealed (to keep small rodents out) and labeled.
9. Before the class enters in the morning, teachers should see that all
movable furniture is in order. There should be an appointed monitor to
see that the boards are clean and ready for use, and a monitor to care for
the appearance of bookshelves, classroom displays, and the general order
of the room.
Remember that an observation of a lesson is rated for instructional content,
teacher’s questions, pupil participation, routines and environment.
1. Is recent student work displayed?
2. Did the teacher maintain a general orderliness of the room?
(floors, desks, shelves, blackboard, etc.)
Classroom displays are basically the windows of the room. Visitors note
classroom displays first. However, more important than what the visitors note is the
fact that the effectiveness of teaching is usually revealed in the appearance and
content of the displays. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that all effective teachers
have good displays and poor teachers have poor displays. But, there is a high
correlation. Classroom displays need not be Fifth Avenue displays, but they can be
neat, attractive, appealing, informative and creative.
Room decorations and displays are the responsibility of the official room
teacher. Subject teachers who use the room share the responsibility. If teachers
need help in displaying material, staff developers should be consulted.
Visitors to MS 118 are always impressed by the creativity and the quality of
our students’ work. Through your efforts, many of our classrooms have become
transformed into print-rich environments overflowing with rich evidence of our
literacy journey. As an educator you should take pride in demonstrating and sharing
your students’ accomplishments; therefore, it is extremely significant and important
that your displays effectively showcase the quality of the work your students
produce. Interesting and attractive displays can serve as teaching tools to reinforce
concepts and motivate students to reach higher standards. Effective displays
demonstrate the following criteria:
They are attractive enough to make the viewer want to take a closer
They have clear explanations describing the purpose, process and
In planning and designing displays, keep the following in mind:
Lettering – should be consistent and legible
Mounting and Matting – gives a work dignity and presence
Composition – think about ways to divide a space, yet achieve overall
unity – avoid visual overcrowding
Balance – a way to combine elements to add stability
Movement – having a viewer’s eye move throughout the display can be
achieved by: - overlapping – progression of sizes – shapes – repetition
We know that quality work demands presentation and I look forward to
supporting your efforts to implement these suggestions.
Very truly yours,