Updated: Dec 10, 2021
By Renee Burgess & Christine Siddall
The Auburn Personalized Learning Fellowship is based on Education Elements' Core Four of Personalized Learning. The Core Four include: Targeted Instruction, Flexible Path & Pace, Collaboration & Creativity and Reflection & Goal Setting. The entire Core Four is dependent on a teacher's ability to create a Nurturing Learning Environment for their students. We believe it is necessary to go through all of the sprints of this fellowship with nurturing learning in mind.
Below are some ideas that you can try in your classroom to create a warm and caring environment for your students. Once our students feel safe in their classroom they will feel empowered to grow and learn. Please respond to this blog post to tell us what you tried and how it went.
Idea #1 | Compliment Circle
Students are asked to form a circle. Students are then asked to provide compliments to their peers. This provides opportunities for children to give and receive compliments. Check out what Adam Grant, a professor and TED presenter says about compliment circles here:
Idea #2 | Use of Yoga Mats
Provide your students some time during the day to be quiet, still and reflective. Giving them a safe space to sit and think about their feelings and their learning will make their time in the classroom more productive.
Students practice calming yoga for five minutes. This helps the students relax in their classroom environment and makes them feel safe. This practice reinforces the children to repeat a mantra that can be continued and revisited throughout the day: “I am smart. I am good. I am kind. I can take the time I need to calm down and feel better.” This is particularly beneficial for children who have experienced trauma.
Idea #3 | Moments of Gratitude
Whether you are embarking on the end of the day, having your students pack up for the day, or walking them out to the busses, have them stop, reflect, and say or write one thing they are grateful for. This provides opportunities for children to reflect on their day and give them a subtle reminder that there is always something to be thankful for.
Idea #4 Responsive Classroom (specifically the morning meeting)
Activity (different child chooses an activity daily)
Message (includes the “board question”-every child signs up under their response)
Greeting one another not only helps the children learn their classmates’ names but makes each student feel recognized and important. Every child is greeted and greets another. The news consists of children sharing news about their lives, good or bad in a safe environment. The board question allows each child to answer a question, reinforcing their importance and valued participation in the classroom community.
We often think that a classroom's environment and culture isn't something that you can see but something that you can feel. We think that it isn't something you can plan for. But the truth is that our classroom culture should be taken into account as we make our lesson plans every day.