Archive for the ‘Strategic Teaching’ Category

Create a floor plan that flows from your classroom door .

Photo Credit by LizMarie

Welcoming students to a successful and warmly inviting classroom begins with you designing a successful floor plan. You can model great floor plans from mentor teachers that mirror comfortable learning environments, but playing around with various concepts over time is the best way to hone your skills. Here are a few suggestions toward creating a floor plan that flows from your classroom door.

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 5.1

Step 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.

Step 2
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].

Step 3
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.

Step 4
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.

Step 5
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 [] so that they are always on top of things easily (see Step 2 of 7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher).

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.


Set the Stage for Telling a Story


Photo Credit by Tanjila

Some of the most productive learning environments are those that invite a sense of wonder and imagination. Setting the stage for telling your teaching and learning methods can be initiated right outside the classroom door. Consider frequently rotating student art expressions of various learning processes as part of your hallway Welcome statement. Showcasing the good in students verses only the good students might be the cause of changed behaviors in all your students.

Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 5.0

Shortly after earning my certification in special education I accepted an assignment at an inner city elementary school. The administrator wanted to hire an educator that not only represented the student’s voice but also would be the voice of under represented students.

Welcome to Success

After studying a few of the student’s background records I learned that a group of three biological brothers genuinely needed a dose of affirmation from an environment that worked overtime spotlighting their failures.

One day I got the bright idea to catch them doing something right even if it was partial. This is how I showcased their success.

Right outside our classroom door I designed cutout-laminated mats in bright colors of 11 X 17 construction paper.

One side of the mat had a 4 X 6 cutout for the student’s picture. Above it was a cutout with enough room for the students name and a great adjective to describe what I saw the student becoming.

The other side of the mat had a cutout approximately 6 X 9 to showcase that student’s work, which had been digitally photographed then reduced or enlarged to fit the space in a professionally displayed presentation.

By cutting out the laminated construction paper you are able to rotate pictures and artwork for each of your students. If at all possible line the corridor entrance to your classroom with spotlights of the students that maybe relying on you to beam them up.

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.