Students learn much better when the classroom environment is conducive to learning. As the teacher, you can easily control how your classroom is set up during educational activities to stimulate more of your children’s five senses and encourage whole-brain learning. The following 10 ways to energize your classroom environment can have a positive effect on your student’s ability and enthusiasm to learn; plus they’re all incredibly easy to set up.
There’s no denying that music can make a profound impression on listeners. Go to a wedding reception if you need evidence. The positive benefits of music in the classroom include higher motivation, increased focus, reduced stress and better overall intelligence. But the proper way to do this is to play music only when you want it to have a positive effect on student’s performance. Playing it all day and the kids will simply tune it out.
- Play upbeat, quick-tempo music when you want to get your kids enthused about a subject and classical, slow-tempo music for quiet contemplation and tests. And it doesn’t have to be loud, just audible enough for the children to hear it and gain the positive effects.
- You can also play music as a signal to your students that it’s time to clean up before the bell goes or when it’s time to stop what you’re doing and pay attention to the teacher. This way you won’t have to raise your voice and the kids will connect tidying up with fun.“If you like the music or you like the sound, …, then you did better. It didn’t matter about the music.” BBC.com
- To enhance children’s memory during class activities and classroom games, put new song lyrics to kid’s songs such as nursery rhymes and their favorite Disney classics. For example, when learning about the solar system, make up new song lyrics to go with the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.
Everything the eyes take in is all made possible by light particles. So it makes sense to use light to your advantage when trying to make your classroom the best learning environment it can be. Lighting has the power to invigorate, spellbind, relax and enchant. Use it wisely.
- Adjust the amount of natural light coming in through the windows during lecture time. Increased sunlight has been found to boost a child’s concentration and problem solving skills; particularly during reading and math activities.
- During story time activities, try dimming the lights or drawing some curtains to create a more dramatic setting for enthralling stories. Using table lamps instead of the harsh fluorescent bulbs can create a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. And the classic…turning off all the lights and holding a flashlight under your chin when telling ghost stories.
- Different times of the year call for different types of activity. Got a Valentine’s Day class activity planned? Switch out your white light bulbs for red. Same for St. Patrick’s Day and green bulbs. You can save money on colored bulbs by wrapping your lampshades in fire-resistant colored paper or fabric.
What we smell can have a huge impact on our actions. In fact, our sense of smell can directly affect our memory and emotions. That means you can lower the anxiety levels of your young students while boosting their memory skills; all through clever use of aromas.
- Research on the fragrances of essential oils has shown that rosemary can improve children’s memory and can make students more alert. Place a small oil burner in each corner of the room, or if fire safety in the classroom is a concern, insert a few pleasant-smelling plug-in room deodorizers.“Rosemary in particular caught my attention as it is considered to be arousing and linked to memory,” BBC.com
- Freshen the smell of your classroom by sprinkling powdered deodorizer on the carpet before your kids arrive. Choose one of the scents described above to match the type of fun educational activities you plan to run on that day.
When students are surprised like when they encounter a new environment, their brains become a hive of activity; senses are heightened, emotions are activated and kids become more attentive. Energize your classroom with these environment-altering ideas.
- A boring routine makes learning boring. Mix things up by teaching outside, swapping classrooms with another class or even turning all the desks round and teach from the other side of the room. Don’t go overboard or it will become too much distraction for your kids so you must create the right balance of surprise with routine.
- Other ways to make your kids sit up and take notice of what’s going on in class is to wear a costume or bring in funny props. They can be entirely random, or better yet, wear and use things that are related to what you are teaching your students in that lesson. The visual aspect and novelty helps them to remember what is being said.