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How To Create A Literacy Rich Environment In The Classroom
Do you want to bring 21st century classroom design into your classroom? This post will help you create a literacy-rich environment in the 21st century classroom and includes a printable guide that you can download now.
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As a literacy specialist, my goal is to create a classroom environment where my students are immersed in reading experiences. I want the community to encourage students to explore reading, writing, listening and speaking skills as they walk through the classroom door.
From the anchor charts I hang to the typefaces in the classroom library, I always ask myself if the decorative element enables language and the possibility of reading.
It was then that I started to do things for the 21st century classroom where my classroom became the literacy space I had always dreamed of…
It has taken me years to develop a classroom environment that I believe supports engagement with text in the form of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. I always dreamed of my classroom as a literacy-rich environment for my students until I started doing things for the 21st century classroom.
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As technology advances and becomes an integral part of students’ daily lives, teachers are forced to re-evaluate courses and classroom styles. Teachers can no longer teach 21st century children in classrooms designed for the age of students without access to the Internet, tablets, cell phones, virtual reality, 3D printers, etc.
When traditional methods of teaching in the classroom began to fail, teachers began to use methods to provide 21st century students with the instruction and support they need to succeed. To support these teaching methods, the classroom structure and environment had to change.
The goal of 21st century classroom architecture is to create a productive environment in which teachers facilitate learning and students develop the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
Essentially, the 21st century classroom encourages teachers to try new things and work with students to find where they are most comfortable learning.
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Personally, I think the key to a successful 21st century classroom is flexibility. Adapting to the learning-rich classroom of the 21st century aims to increase student productivity and encourage collaboration and communication.
Your classroom design should be flexible and easy to adapt to what is working with the students.
Gone are the days of rows of desks – or even desks in the classroom. Many drawings of 21st century classrooms show desks rather than desks. High tables, low tables, round and square tables—various things are appreciated. Organizing tables or desks encourages collaboration!
Additionally, a variety of organized work spaces support students whether they are working in small groups, in pairs, or individually.
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Now, if you’re like me, you want symmetry in everything – so how is that possible with a hierarchy of parallel tables? The answer is simple: the tables can be bought at a garage sale and spray painted to match, or you can assemble them all together using your bench.
Another aspect of improving classroom design is a designated area in the classroom where students can gather small lessons, read aloud, and engage in group discussions. This area is different from their work areas and should be reflected in its design. An area rug is a great way to set up a meeting space!
Flexible seating allows students to choose where they want to sit and where they want to sit. The 21st century classroom encourages students to follow their natural instincts to move their bodies and occupy different positions when needed.
Babies are naturally very creative when it comes to where they sit and how they stretch their bodies! If you are a parent, you know what I mean! It is not uncommon for me to have one child at home reading a book on the coffee table and another quietly painting under the kitchen table.
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If you look at how children move their bodies and compare it to the hours spent in school, it is easy to see that the traditional classroom has always missed the mark. A classroom where hard chairs and desks are the only place for students to work has never been conducive to effective instruction and learning.
Painted stools and chairs are a simple, elegant option to match your tables. Large pillows, sofas and bean bags are in the same color scheme as the desks liven up your classroom. Yoga balls used for asanas are also very effective for children.
Remember, you don’t have to include all of the seating options at once. Be on time! If you are concerned about the cost of building such a classroom, go to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or, as I mentioned above, a garage sale to find a good deal. You can also ask for donations from your own family, friends and neighbors.
Teachers’ desks take up a lot of space in the classroom. Instead, try to fit your shopping collection into a small rolling cart. Use a kidney or U-shaped table as your desk. This table has many purposes, it not only serves as your desk but also as a place to teach, meet with students or connect with students.
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You may want to put a small notebook behind the desk for some teaching materials. However, it is time to confirm. Remember, 21st century classrooms take a minimalist approach to design. No confusion!
Instead of keeping math manipulatives or dry erase boards in hard-to-reach cabinets, put them where students can reach them.
If you decide to use desks instead of desks, you should have a place for students’ supplies (pencils, markers, crayons, paper, scissors, glue, etc.). I prefer to have community tools rather than stationary pencil boxes, but you have to choose what works best for you. Each of my students has a bookshelf where they keep their textbooks and binders.
The order of things is personal and depends on the size of your classroom and its storage options.
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Students must have access to classroom computers, laptops, iPads and/or Chrome books. Students are used to using tools and having information at their fingertips from a young age.
The benefits of technology and ways to integrate it into your classroom could take up a blog post (or several). In short, technology tools support instruction, digital literacy, and are a way for students to explore their interests.
Yes, it is important to establish monitoring systems and strict guidelines that will keep your students safe (these guidelines depend on your district’s policies).
A classroom with a reading experience provides students not only with digital knowledge, but also with a library that has a variety of books at different levels and covers many genres.
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The classroom library should be organized so that students can use it freely. Books are stored in bins/baskets with one level in each bin. Books are a must-have for every student’s reading level. I like to organize my non-fiction books by genre, theme, featured author, and lead author. All bookshelves should be at a suitable height for children and the space should be inviting.
A literacy classroom also means hanging “anchor charts” around the classroom for students to talk about. An “anchor chart” contains ideas or information related to what the child is reading. Usually, this chart is prepared in advance and included during the mini-lesson. Several “anchor charts” can be posted in the classroom for students to use as a guide.
The 21st century classroom is not decorated with pre-made, ready-to-hang models. Any printed materials posted in the classroom should be meaningful and clearly support learning.
A number of important factors in 21st century classroom design include flexible design, flexible seating, small teacher spaces, easily accessible student resources, available technology, and rich reading.
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A 21st Century Classroom Diagram is available for download to assist you in planning your classroom. Remember to be flexible and creative!
I promise, you can create a 21st century classroom that will make your colleagues jealous of your learning environment and students eager to join your classroom. A literacy environment, as advocated by the International Reading Association, has a huge impact on what happens in the classroom and sets the stage for cross-cultural interaction. Over the past several years,
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