Here are some great ideas to get your students all geared up and ready for the new school year ahead:
1. Healthy Classroom Seating Arrangements
Just as math can be tricky, so can seating arrangements—when you have 25 new students and so many ways to seat them! Teachers need to weigh in several important factors when deciding seat placements, namely:
- Special needs children: Students with visual or auditory limitations should sit closest to the front of the room. Check medical records, IEPs and 504 Plans to see which students require preferential seating.
- Children who demand more attention: After a while, you’ll be able to pick the restless, easily-distracted ones out. Students who struggle with attention should move upfront for easy monitoring, or seated on the outer ring of desk clusters to minimize opportunities for distraction (being so near to other students), and classroom disruption.
- Mix students up: Just as you (normally) don’t get to choose who you sit with on your first day of work, ‘class’ is the same. Alternate your seating placements, and mix boys and girls as evenly as possible. Also, place students next to classmates they have not had the chance to work with before, or would not normally choose to play with! This encourages students to communicate, collaborate, step out of their comfort zone, and share knowledge and new experiences with all types of peers.
2. Recommended Classroom Layout, Decorations and Stations
When setting up, make sure that kids always have a clear route to class supplies zones and exits. Seating clusters are good, as opposed to individual ‘test-in-progress-like’ seating. So are ‘creative nooks’ or ‘bookwork stations’ set aside for reading, independent or group study, or even discussions. You could place beanbags, cushions or comfy mats here, and make a mini library, play or exploration area! Can’t visualize how you’d like everything organized? Use this neat virtual floor plan organizer to move classroom furniture and items around, minus the weight lifting!
When it comes to decorations and bulletin boards, too much busy patterns, bright colours and popping visuals can cause sensory overload for active minds! Keep wall space at least 20 to 50% clear of clutter, theme your colours in complementary sets, e.g., different hues of blue and cream yellow (bright and warm), and let plenty of natural sunlight in—all of which is conducive for focused, undistracted learning.
Don’t forget to allocate some space for student work display, giving kids a sense of ownership and pride in their learning turf. For further recommended reading covering comprehensive tips from “recommended movement breaks” to “ways to create a sensory friendly classroom” and “core reasons for attention problems,” read Back To School Tips: The Ultimate Resource For Teachers and Therapists.
3. Classroom Learning Technologies and Complements
These days, there are fun learning tools you can pre-install in kids’ tablets to help them learn and practice a new subject, without having to constantly remind them! When difficult subjects like math can be extra challenging to learn for students resuming lessons (after a long break)—any additional homework help is welcome! Especially when kids don’t equate it to “work.”
At Zap Zap Math, we’ve taken teachers concerns into consideration by releasing our latest improved version in time for the new school year. All our engaging math games are mapped to your school curriculum and Common Core state standards. But don’t take our word for it, hear it from the teachers themselves and a young fan who have downloaded Zap Zap Math as a helpful companion to math lessons:
Got any more tips on classroom organization for the new school year, teachers? We’d love to hear from you. We’ve also started a new back-to-school Pin-spiration board on Pinterest, among other cool math tips, tricks and tools—so do follow us!