[Note: This is a guest post by Diane McLoud. Diane is an author, blogger, teacher, and popular speaker at Christian women’s events. She can be found at www.DianeMcLoud.com.]
From the youngest of children to the oldest of adults, grab the interest of your students the minute they walk into your classroom by creating an inviting environment! Here are three simple steps:
1) Start with the “bones.” You’ve gotten used to the look of your classroom, but how would visitors—no matter their age—view it? Make sure it’s bright, uncluttered, smells fresh, and basically looks good. Does it need a fresh coat of paint, new curtains, or a new light fixture—all inexpensive, easy elements to fix? Are there ancient pieces of artwork or furniture that need to go elsewhere? Are there broken items that need removed or repaired?
2) Add color and interest. Once the basics are set, consider the aesthetics. Think of every surface as a palette; the ceiling, the walls, the chalkboard/markerboard, the door, the windows, and even the floor. Are there ways you can add colorful teaching elements—like maps, posters, timelines, games, question cards, memorization aids, and decorations—to those surfaces? (Remember to change items every few weeks, so you keep your students’ interest.)
3) Then, take into account the average age of your students. Warm up an adult classroom with live green plants, a pot of coffee, and a small shelf or rack of Bible reference books. If you have tables in your room, add color with inexpensive plastic covers from the dollar store. (Note: Don’t over-do flowers, implying that the room is meant for women, unless your class is meant for women.)
Add interest for kids by using decorations they’ve created, and by including photos of the kids in your decor. They love to see their own faces! Also, be sure to decorate your doorway; a decorated entrance creates immediate interest. Are you teaching about Jonah? Hang watery-blue streamers with fish stickers from the top of your doorway for students to enter through. Teaching about Daniel? Crumple brown paper bags and shade them with shoe polish, then hang them around your doorway to make it resemble the entrance to a lions’ den. The kids will love it. We typically make this effort only for VBS; why not all the time?
Put some thought and effort into your classroom this week, then have fun watching the “wow” on your students’ faces as they enter next Sunday!
© 2015 by Diane McLoud. All rights reserved.