Recently my class had to complete a video project on Weinstein’s work on formal intervention plans and the five components that make it up. While all five aspects are important for classrooms and also have applications to the work environment for adults, we focused our project on creating a physical setting that supports academic and social goals. It took some work to thoroughly research it and then figure out how to compile the video together, we did finally get it finished and put onto YouTube before the deadline.
Now after having some time to look back over the video project my partner and I completed, I never quite took into consideration just how much the classroom environment can impact the students’ learning. While we have discussed in class before the way we could decorate the classroom with a diverse range of images of successful people in the content area that is being taught. This allows students of all backgrounds to have someone to relate and look up to as a role model, while also help push the students to strive to be more successful inside and outside the classroom (while we as teachers must recognize everyone has different terms of success).We also took a look at something as simple as the temperature of a classroom and how the most optimal temperature for peak performance sits around 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Another thing we discussed was how seating arrangements can look and why we should swap the arrangements every so often based on different activities. While looking at seating arrangements, we also came across the idea of numbering your desks and having students pull numbers from a bucket to let students sit around new people and start new conversations around new people.
The bigger takeaway for me with the project though was looking at the physical components in the classroom. For us that mainly meant looking at what the students sit in during class. Majority of us are probably used to sitting in the old style desks but the research we found challenged us to start looking at different things i students can use to sharpen focus which can have a trickle-down effect on performance. Yoga balls as seats is good for improving back posture and fine motor skills while sitting on it during classes and also lets the students move around a little in class with all the energy they have. Depending on the classroom environment you have to work with, there are also bouncy bands which can be strapped to desks or desk chairs to allow people to move their leg a little whether to help allow movement or even to reduce stress before a big test. Personally both of these would have helped me pay even better attention in class and do better. In the same way, pedal desks, wobble chairs, and standing desks also can improve students’ physical health while also making them focus more on the topics learned in class. While all of these are excellent things that would be great to further investigate, it can potentially be expensive depending on the school’s budget for you. An alternative to this is to look at writing for grants to try to get money to make these changes if you feel they will benefit your class.