One of my favorite parts of returning to my classroom in the fall was spending time decorating and determining how I would organize and layout my classroom for optimal usage for myself and my students. For most elementary teachers, classroom and storage space can be very limited so we need to be purposeful with each inch of real estate that we are given. As elementary teachers, we also tend to collect a lot of “stuff” over the years. So how do we balance all this stuff with limited space, as well as, organize and decorate our rooms to promote the best learning possible? Here are a few pointers that combine foundational Feng Shui principles with easily implementable classroom organizational ideas:
1. Make comfort a priority. If you or your students are uncomfortable, it will create distress. Always place the comfort of the people who will work in the space before any Feng Shui rules. This itself is also a rule of Feng Shui. Think about flexible seating options (standing or sitting) for kids to feel more at ease.
2. Students should be able to move freely. The classroom is useless if you or your students can’t get around easily. Make sure the room flows in a manner that makes everything accessible, from the pencil sharpener to the shared seating areas.
3. Get rid of clutter. This is a crucial element in Feng Shui, as a clear space promotes a clear mind for students to learn successfully. Keep classroom excess to a minimum. If it isn’t being used, keep it out of sight to avoid items piling up.
4. Don’t overdo it with displays. Feng Shui wants little to no clutter and that includes the wall. There is no reason to put up every assignment or art students work on. Instead, select an area where work can be hung and keep it in a neat manner. Be purposeful about using space for learning posters and anchor charts. Too much on display just becomes wallpaper that holds no meaning for the students and can actually distract their learning.
5. Let everyone participate. When arranging furniture and learning centers, all students should be visible to you at all times. This promotes teacher and student interaction and ensures students feel comfortable to approach you when needed. A gathering place away from the student work place is also ideal. This promotes a sense of community and interconnectedness.
6. Go green. Green is a strong color in Feng Shui and stands for growth and peace. This is the exact environment most teachers strive for in their classrooms, so use green for steady decor in the space that won’t be changed for seasons or holidays.
7. Add the color blue. Blue is known to create a calming effect and in Feng Shui is known to promote learning and aptitude. Increase your students’ drive by adding this color in areas that they will see every day.
Part of getting rid of the clutter is finding a way to organize and store all the teaching materials and supplies you and your students will need throughout the year. Easily accessible materials and supplies can eliminate delays, disruptions, and confusion as students prepare for activities. “Staying organized is the best way to save time in the classroom”, Jillian Starr states in her blog Starr Spangled Planner. “Finding the right systems can take time but once you have it, say hello to all the hours you didn’t know you had!” Check out her 10 Math Organizational Tips to Save You Hours of Prep Work ideas.
With some Feng Shui principles and a little organizational pre-planning, your classroom can be a welcoming, creative learning space for you and your students!
This post brought to you by Julie Ace, Elementary Implementation Associate
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