The physical environment of the Classroom

Every teacher knows that a safe, clean, comfortable and attractive classroom can stimulate learning and help build a classroom community. But for many teachers, setting up the physical environment of their classrooms can be quite daunting, especially when faced with older buildings, crowded classrooms and insufficient storage space. You can make the most of your classroom environment by carefully considering your needs and the needs of your students.

1. Survey Classroom: Looking at the Basics:

The first things to consider when organizing your classroom are cleanliness, light and temperature. Although you may not have complete control over some of these elements, try to make or suggest improvements as necessary.

2. The Floor Plan: Assessing Needs

Once you have checked the basic elements in your classroom, think about your floor plan. It should maximize classroom space and reflect your individual teaching style.

Your floor plan will also depend on the grade you are eaching For the lower grades, your classroom setup may include many different learning areas, such as a reading area. an art center and a technology, center. The placement of these areas will depend upon the layout of your classroom. However, when setting up these areas, you will want to keep the following points in mind:

  • Room dividers should be low so that all areas are visible to you.
  • Areas that invite group work should not be next to quiet areas where students read or study independently.
  • Art or other messy areas are best located near a sink
  • You should always be able to make eye contact with all students.

Many of these guidelines hold true for the middle and upper grades, too. However, older students often spend more time seated in one area. Take your teaching style and lesson plans into consideration as you consider the different types of seating arrangements you might employ.

3. Classroom Decor: Facing the Blank Canvas

Encourage students to make the classroom space their own. Welcome their contributions to its decoration, and urge them to take responsibility for its maintenance. Here are some easy, low-cost ways to make your classroom into an inviting. effective space for all

4. Up the Walls:

  • Interesting and attractive visual aids, such as bulletin boards and posters, are key components of an effective classroom. Wall decorations should be colorful, appealing and relevant to current classwork They should be rotated and refreshed frequently
  • Be sure to think about the cultural backgrounds of your students when dressing the walls. Try to represent your students’ diversity on posters or bulletin boards.
  • Set aside a section of the bulletin board to be your designated “Student Work Museum” and post children’s drawings, written work and other projects there. Make sure that each student’s work is displayed often.
  • Post daily schedules in a place where students can read them easily.. This accessibility of the classroom schedule can help students grow comfortable with class and school routines. For younger students, make a daily schedule that includes pictures or icons.

5. The Greenhouse Effect

Caring for live plants can give your classroom a warm, comforting feel. It can also help teach students responsibility – and science! Local nurseries or greenhouses may even be willing to donate the plants to your class.

  • Entrust children, especially older children, to care for the class plants. They can make sure that the plants receive adequate water, light and air.

6. Use Lots of Storage Space:

  • The primary classroom should have as much storage space as possible, both for students’ personal belongings and for shared tools and materials. Each child should have a personal space, such as a desk or a cubby and a coat hook, for his or her own things..
  • General classroom storage should be easily available to older students, who should be more responsible for collective belongings. Storage areas for any materials that younger students may access, such as crayons or books, should be clearly labeled (with words and pictures) so that children can clean up without your help. Rehearse the Classroom

When you’ve finished setting up your classroom, give it a practice making run or two. Walk through a typical school day, sure that both you and the students have enough space to work and move around, that everyone in the classroom can see and hear and that every part of the room is as pleasant as possible. For example, write on the blackboard, and then take a walk around the room. Check sight lines from every spot where students might be working.

Your classroom, will continue to change and evolve as the school year progresses. These suggestions can help you create a classroom environment that is welcoming, comfortable, clean and secure.


The physical environment of your classroom is extremely important to effective teaching and learning. Many first-year teachers tend to underestimate this importance. Here are some simple guidelines to help you make your classroom teacher, learner, and community friendly.

7. The 4 BE’s of quality learning space

  • BE sensitive to the messages communicated students by the classroom environment.
  • BE able to evaluate the effectiveness of the classroom setting.
  • BE alert to times when physical arrangement maybe causing learning problems.
  • BE able and WILLING to modify the environment when necessary.

To help you implentent the 4 BE’s, here are some principles and guidelines that have proven to be effective in setting up a classroom:

1. Principle I:

The physical environment of the classroom supports tasks to be carried out there. Guidelines:

  • Frequently used classroom materials are accessible to students at all times.
  • Shelves and storage areas are well organized so it’s clear where materials and equipment belong.
  • Pathways throughout the room, such as those topencil sharpener, drinking fountains, or trashcans,are designed to avoid congestion.
  • Seating arrangements allow students a clear viewof instructional presentations.
  • Seating arrangement and teaching space allows you to easily establish collective and individual contact with all students.
  • Seating arrangements are consistent with the amount of contact among students desired (for example, if you don’t want group discussion, don’t arrange students in a small group or circle.)
  • Stock your room with a variety of activities or materials that are relevant to content or curriculum.
  • Alter physical space to meet student needs and generate student interest.

2. Principle II:

The Physical Environment of the Classroom Provides Security and Pleasure.


  • Add elements of softness in room.
  • Keep room temperature comfortable (a fan or space heater can help if the thermostat can’t.)
  • Arrange classroom for freedom from hallway andother interference.
  • Create a retreat area for students to have separation from the rest of the class (but not removed from your visual observation.)
  • Use a variety of colors and textures to create a pleasing environment.
  • Use plants, colorful posters, and instructionallyrelevant bulletin board displays to decorate.
  • Make sure room complies with safety standards for fire, earthquake, and other emergency situations.
  • Secure equipment or materials with locks and latches as appropriate.

3. Principle III:

The Physical Environment Reflects the People who Teach and Learn There.

  • Personalize classroom space so that it communicates information about you and your students.
  • Display student work as well as evidence of your own accomplishments or experiences (e.g. teacher certificate, diplomas, merit awards, family, photos, etc.)

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