Growing up, my favorite teachers were always those that inspired and motivated me to work hard by creating a classroom that was fun. One classroom in particular belonged to my 4th grade teacher, she was known for making learning fun – that is just who she was. So I was beyond excited when I found out that she would be my teacher that year. She made going to school every day an adventure, as you never knew exactly what she would have up her sleeve.
By taking pieces of a classroom that are typical and giving them a twist with simple, fun techniques, she was able to create a classroom that wasn’t just fun but motivating and inspiring too. Even now as an adult it is a fond memory that I hold dear and think of often when examining my own child’s school experience. Read on for these 6 simple, fun ways teachers can create a motivating, inspiring classroom for their students, I hope it inspires you too.
#1: What’s in a Name?
The first thing I distinctly remember about our classroom that year was the pretty, personalized placecards that were taped to the top corner of each desk. These weren’t your run of the mill name tags, but rather personalized ones that included fun information about each student including our birth-dates. It really made me feel like the desk was my own personal space and it was a great way for my classmates to find my desk easily to leave notes or to find out when my birthday was.
#2: Reading Rainbow
Our teacher was very passionate about reading and she would spend a few minutes every afternoon reading aloud to us. We each had a copy of the book that she was reading so we could follow along. She created bookmarks for each of us that were very much like the placecards on our desks. Again, it was just a little special added treat to have a personalized bookmark with our names that we could use each day.
#3: Make a Goal
Our teacher was very goal oriented and found fun ways to motivate us to reach daily goals. One wall in the classroom was covered in numbered posters, each one contained a different activity that she would switch out each day. Each morning, we would start at the first poster and work our way through the list. We each had a goal poster located at the front of the classroom where we would keep track of how far we made it through the list each day. It was a visual that worked really well for competitive kids like myself, I worked really hard each day to reach my goal.
#4: Kids are Visual
Along with the numbered posters of daily activities were also giant wall stickers that she had made for parts of the schedule that didn’t change from day to day. For example, one of the activities (believe it or not) was to quietly jump on a miniature trampoline for 5 minutes. I remember that being my favorite activity and I was so happy to have the opportunity to do it each day. These fun activities were sprinkled throughout the work posters, giving us a little motivation to work through the hard parts to get to a little fun.
#5: Journal It
Another activity that we completed daily was writing in our journals. Again, these were personalized journals with our name printed on the front. Each day we were to jot down a few memories and over the year we each filled one of these journals with our thoughts. It was a fun keepsake to take home at the end of the year, and my favorite part was our teacher would jot here own little notes into the margin of our entries. For example, when I wrote about how exciting it was to have a new little brother, she wrote how fun that must be for me as a big sister!
#6: Color Their World
For me, the one thing that definitely makes a classroom is the use of color – the more the merrier. I love a classroom that is a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes and images that gets the gears in a child’s head cranking! Something as simple as a little color can really boost the moods of the children and teacher alike. I have to admit I have picked schools for my son over the years based on my first impression of the classrooms. To me, a colorful, inspiring classroom is one that I feel will motivate my child to want to learn each day.
YOUR TURN: Are you a teacher or a parent who finds inspiring and fun classrooms motivate your students? How has this been true in your experience?