Create a floor plan that flows from your classroom door .
Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 5.1
Remove any obstructive furniture from your entrance. Teachers have the tendency to think that creating a barrier between the hub of classroom activity and the entrance will block out disturbances. Actually entering a blocked classroom entrance from a long and opened hallway or outdoor exit instantly distorts the flow of positive energy. Think of your students being able to finally take deep comforting breaths, from the story told about them in your hallway display to the minute they enter their classroom.
Set the stage for routines by thinking about where your station for opening instruction will be located. This station should include an easy way for students to figure out all homework assignments from previous weeks without having to interrupt you from greeting students, passing out graded assignments, or taking attendance. Consider placing the homework station as far away from the entrance as possible so that the flow of movement isn’t broken or bottlenecked [3 ring binders with tabs and pockets work nicely].
Supplies for specific task should be a separated by itself whenever possible to prevent congestion near the homework station. Also try to have the placement of those items linear from left to right or visa versa so that students become familiar with assembling routines that reduce time needed to get in and back to their work stations.
Assign students to small teams of four and title job responsibilities for efficiency. Some titles to consider are: Project Manager or Timekeeper, Team Coordinator, Distribution Manager, and Team Instructor. You can define the job descriptions as needed the important thing is that students of all ages thrive on opportunities to be responsible and praised for accountability. The key idea in effective floor planning here is to have the Distributor of the group collect and pass out assignments from another area of the classroom to avoid everyone congregating.
Having a specific chalkboard or overhead for assignments and daily instructions may sound elementary but it works. Take a photo of an assignment on the board, and a close up of all the stations to use in your substitute teaching notes is sweet. The same picture can be quickly sent to parents by picture mail or Twitpic [http://twitpic.com] so that they are always on top of things easily (see Step 2 of 7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher).
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