Classroom Environment for K-5 Teachers

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Overview and Purpose

Think back to when you were in elementary school. What was your favorite year? Was it 5th grade when your teacher had the M&M man that you could use each time you answered a question right? Or was it 2nd grade when your teacher had squishy chairs and couches to sit on? Or was it even 4th grade when your teacher played games with your class every so often when the class looked like they needed a break?

All of these things have to deal with one thing: Classroom Environment. The classroom environment is everything that goes into the setting for learning. It is the pictures around the room, the brain breaks, the 'notes to the teacher' jar. Many teachers work hard to make their classroom a safe and welcoming environment that welcomes individuality and learning. Some teachers struggle with it, though, because with all of the state testing and APPR reviews, it falls on the back burner. When we struggle with classroom environment, though, it can really effect the children in our room.

This class is designed to help teachers at the elementary level with their classroom environment. Through the use of readings, videos, and self reflection, you will be able to turn your classroom into a very safe, welcoming, and engaging room that each and every child can succeed in.

This class is separated into 3 separate units. The first unit is all about educational theories and how classroom environment relates to that. The second unit is all about what classroom environment really entails. Finally, the third unit is where you are able to evaluate your own classroom and create a plan to make your class a more positive environment for students.

Finally, you will need access to a computer with a webcam and you will need to create an account with FlipGrid so that you can post video responses to class discussions (PS- Our class code is gs5b6p).

Needs Assessment

Problem: Kids spend six or more hours a day in school. This is where they learn almost everything they know: academics, behavior, self esteem, and more. A lot of the time, the teacher thinks about the academics and how to make that material fun and engaging, but what about the classroom environment? So many times teachers forget that the environment plays a huge role. So many behaviors and social issues can be fixed if there is a welcoming and warming environment.

What is to be Learned: Students in this course will learn why a safe and welcoming classroom environment is an important support and need when it comes to the levels of student learning academically, socially, and mentally. In this course, they will learn about the educational theory behind a welcoming classroom environment. Students will also be shown many resources that can help them improve their classroom environment. Finally, students will be able to make changes to their own classroom environment to make it more warming for every individual in the classroom.

Learners: This course is intended for teachers who are in a K-5 classroom. Secondary teachers could take this course as well, but may have to adjust some things based on age and maturity. This can also be for general education classroom teachers and special education/self contained classroom teachers.

Instructional Context: This course will happen through the KNILT Wiki. Because of this, students will need a device with internet access in order to complete this course (ex: computer, tablet, laptop). The course will focus on internet based tools.

Exploring the Problem and Solution: The student in this course will be instructed though readings, videos, and self reflections to help them create a classroom environment best suited for them and their kids.

Goals: The main goal of this mini-course is for the student to understand why classroom environment is an important part of education and a child's learning and growth. Once the course is completed, the student will be able to adjust their classroom environment through the use of a checklist and online video tools created to help support the student so that they have a classroom environment that is welcoming and safe.

Performance Objectives

1. Participants will understand what makes a classroom positive and welcoming

2. Participants will understand what the benefits are of a positive, welcoming classroom

3. Participants will be able to evaluate their classroom environment

4. Participants will determine how they can make their classroom a positive, welcoming environment for students

Course Units

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Unit 1: Educational Theories

The first unit is all about educational theories and how classroom environment relates to those theories. You will read a few articles and focus on the questions being asked. Then, you will upload a video response on FlipGrid reflecting on what you learned.

Unit 2: What is Included in Classroom Environment?

This second unit is about classroom environment: what it is and what it includes. You will read some articles and watch some videos, then you will upload another video response on FlipGrid on what you would like to include in your classroom. You will then evaluate your classroom environment.

Unit 3: What About Your Classroom Environment?

In this final unit, you will focus on your own classroom environment. You will create a plan to improve your own classroom environment.

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Extended Resources

Here are some additional readings if you would like to extend your knowledge on this area.

1. How does classroom environment effect learning?

2. Classroom environment: creating a safe and positive classroom

3. Classroom Environment