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The Potential of Your Classroom

Potential. As a teacher, you see it every day: in your students, in your fellow teachers, in your school. There is another place, though, that may not come to mind when you think of potential: your classroom environment.

A new study by Stalford University in Manchester, England found that the classroom environment can affect student learning by as much as a full year’s worth of learning material. Some factors are out of your control, like being dependent on the way the building was constructed, but there are some small changes you can make that have a big impact on your students and your success:

Idea 1: Switch it up! Put up new wall material (lots of colors, new imagery, even just moving things around from one side of the room to the other helps change things up). Students definitely like to be heard. Put up an opinions board to let them know you’re listening! It’s an easy way to change up the content on the walls.

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(Image Source: The Trendy Teacher)

Idea 2: Hang things on the wall in picture frames to make your classroom look more classy! (We’ll do a post on making your class a more familiar space next!)

(Image Source: Pinterest)

Idea 3. Have kids take photos of subject and topic related matter. High school students are definitely using Instagram, and will love the idea of getting their work on the wall!

(Image Source: Goodwillionaire)

Tap into the potential of the classroom. More ideas next week!

—Mikaila

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Reading should send you through a roller coaster of emotions. Reading propels you to other worlds and dimensions. Reading makes you put down the book in embarrassment from the actions of its characters. Reading sends you back and forward through time. Reading puts you in the minds of others. Reading connects you to characters you soon find you can’t live without. If you find reading peaceful, you haven’t been doing it correctly.

Great quote. What’s on your reading list this summer?

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lleullinsdragon:

A parent organized some of my students in creating #SuperSelke comics. #Touching

Favorite post of the week!  So cute.

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More on one of our themes this week: project-based learning.  We’re big fans!

get-educated:

From Edudemic: Project-Based Learning is a fluid technique to enhance learning that really looks nothing like projects as they’re described below. For example, in a PBL scenario, the teacher’s work is typically done prior to the start of the project, it’s graded on a clearly defined rubric, and has driving questions that keep the learning going.

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Here’s a great article on a long-standing topic of debate: Are those games educational?  The author suggests in STEM subjects, maybe…. read more to find out why.

gjmueller:

Can Digital Games Boost Students’ Test Scores?

There’s no question students are interested in digital games – 97 percent of kids play them — but what educators and industry watchers want to know is whether playing those games can actually improve student achievement.

A new SRI study released today suggests they do — at least in the subjects of science, math, engineering, and technology. According to the report, which is an analysis of 77 peer-reviewed journal articles of students K-16 studying STEM subjects, “when digital games were compared to other instruction conditions without digital games, there was a moderate to strong effect in favor of digital games in terms of broad cognitive competencies.”

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Very cool stuff.  Would you ever consider this in your classroom?  Why or why not?

get-educated:

From Blogging About the Web 2.0: For many teachers the traditional textbook just doesn’t cut it any more. Between the rapid pace at which information changes and rising cost, many are looking for alternatives. Believe it or not, there are lots of options out there, if you know where to look and you are willing to get your hands dirty. The best part? Kids can create these using any of the tools below.

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The Dream Classroom

Summer is here. In recent posts we’ve been offering suggestions on reflecting about the year – celebrating your achievements and your students’ achievements.

You’ve accomplished a lot and none of this could have happened without your classroom. So we wanted to take some time to explore the space in which your teaching occurs. Our resident design expert, Mikaila Waters, has a passion for space use and will offer up some ideas for your classrooms over the next few days.

Before we get to those recommendations – what do you think makes a classroom space great? What is one of your favorite elements of your classroom? Where do you feel most productive? Where do you get the majority learning done? What is one thing you want to change about your classroom? Think about what your dream classroom would be…

(Image Source: inhabitat.com)

What would work best for you? What would work best for your students? Think about shared space. Think about dedicated space. The classroom is your canvas and even if you don’t have the time or resources to make it the perfect classroom, small details can make a big difference. Time to reinvent, reconsider, and get excited!

—Will