G is for Garden

I'm not a gardener.  My wife does a great garden every year complete with strawberry plants, beans, tomatoes and something new each year.  However, in my classroom I currently have 8 plants.  I repotted a poinsettia that I had from the last Christmas season.  It was starting to wither and I thought that it might need a bigger pot.  Today, I also potted a new plant that needed a home in my classroom.

Ah, there it is.  Gardening in a classroom.  Not really.  However, the plants play a very important role in my classroom.  I have at least one in each window and several in the box of my room.  In middle school, students spend 55 minutes in this classroom.  I spend about 4 hours everyday.  I really think that environment plays a huge role in being successful. 

So what am I doing to improve the classroom environment?
  • Plants - Add color and oxygen
  • Lantern Globes - I haven't turned on the overhead lights all year.  I added 4 large globes hanging from the ceiling.  I also have a few lamps.  I also keep the shades open all day.  Between those, I have enough light to make a relaxed, calming enviroment.
  • Rug - I have a great square rug in my room.  It is one of the first things that you see when you walk in the room.  Color on the floor instead of the drab beige tiles.
  • Fabric on the Walls - I have walls that I can staple on.  I've gotten several yards of fabric from the store and stapled them to the wall with a nice paper border.  
  • Tables - No one sits at a desk.  Everyone is forced to collaborate and work with a group.  
  • Whiteboards - I have 5 easel whiteboards.  They are instantly available to all students.
  • Laptops - Really? Technology?  Yep, part of environment.  Students know that I trust them with the technology and that it is available to them.  
  • Stools - I have a science room.  In the back, it has science lab counters.  I kept bugging my engineers to get me some stools.  We have small group work with the counters in the back.  I'll also let them sit on the counters if we are doing non-teacher led work.
What are you doing to create a successful classroom environment?

G is for Gardening