Hi friends. Welcome back to Mr. Mark’s classroom. I want to share with you some ideas that might help with classroom management. As I’m observing in the classes that I have here at my own church, I see there’s a couple of things that we really could pay attention to that maybe we have been neglecting. And we would be able to engage children even greater if we could put some of these things in order.
First of all, let me just talk about classroom arrangement. In preschool, we have children’s furniture that is for each age, for each size, that is appropriate for them. There’s a lot of different equipment in preschool that’s different than elementary. We have a home living center, a blocks center. We have the arts center often as an easel, maybe it’s tables. Most of the time it’s near a sink so we get access to be able to clean up.
We have a science area, a shelf even. In home living, we use the stove and sink, the doll crib, the little chairs and table. But you can add in an ironing board, a refrigerator, a cupboard, a doll crib… we have that and the vinyl dolls. All of those types of things are used for role play or “home living,” is what we call it. It doesn’t have to be that. In churches, most of the time it goes to that because in the children’s life experience, that’s what they’ve learned is, at home, they see mom and dad and what they do. So, we are able to actually see the kids role play and even be the voices of the parents or of the baby, as they’re doing that role play. That’s really pretty cool when you see children’s drama that’s going on. That’s fun.
Elementary kids love drama too. It’s just expressed a little differently. So, whenever we see our preschoolers having those type of times, we might see some children who won’t engage in that. Please know, it doesn’t always have to be a stove and a sink. You can cover that and it can be the eye doctor. It can be the fruit stand. Oh, by the way, I just saw a great picture. I posted it on my Instagram. If you’re not following me on Instagram, go ahead and do that. It’s https://www.instagram.com/mr.marks_classrm. I took a picture of it. They had made pumpkins and it was just a bag that they kind of wadded up. They stuffed it and then they twisted it to make the stem, and they painted the outside orange to be the pumpkin. They painted the stem brown and green. But they just tied it off. You could tie a leaf on there if you want. They put it on the floor in a row, three in row and they twisted up some green bulletin-board paper to be like stems and to be between the rows. Then they had a cash-register and some other fruit things. You could go and pick a pumpkin at their fruit stand. It was really cute. The teacher just took those pieces apart from the kitchen and she moved the stove over. She put some paper over it. It was just the counter now, to be able to walk up and buy the fruit or the pumpkin that they had. You can arrange those pieces and make it whatever you want. One of my favorite things that I ever did with that, was we had a wagon in there one day. We were talking about Sarah and Abraham moving to the land that God was giving them. We said, “Okay, it’s moving day. We’ve got to pack all this stuff up.” We were packing it up. We had bubble wrap and tissue paper and boxes and we were packing up every little bit of the stuff and the dishes and everything. We put them all in the wagon and we walked around the room and came back and said, “Oh, we’re here. This is our new house. Let’s all move in.” So, we started unloading the wagon and taking everything out, putting it all up. We must have moved that stuff around the room four or five times that morning just because we had so much fun moving. Anyway, it’s just role play. If you can facilitate that and engage in it yourself, you’ll see the preschoolers want to be a part of it as well. That’s a lot of fun.
Now, your room arrangement with preschool, is that you’re going to have tables and shelves that will peninsula out from the wall, even in the center of the room, rugs and sitting areas, because these children are early-childhood learning and they’re learning in centers.
So, they’re learning through play, and everything that we do in those centers always will point back to the Bible truth that we’re teaching that day. So, it’s always going to be a segue to talk about the Bible story. We really talk about the Bible story over and over all morning long when we’re teaching them. We just reinforce it again and again. Tell the story again, then tell it again. Those connections will be made with the Bible truth, those foundational stories. So, it’s all done through play and we have to set the room up in such a way it’s in centers. Or if it’s all flat and against the wall, they’ll just run. It’ll just be a skating rink and running with the bulls. So, be sure that you have the room arranged correctly for early childhood.
Now, when you get to the elementary, it’s not so much. Matter of fact, we don’t have all of that equipment. Our supplies are usually just consumable supplies that we would use. Maybe there are games, like Bible skill games, that every room is equipped with. But everything we have is pretty much is flat and against the wall. If it’s just shelves or Bibles, storage like that, no problem. Then we have tables in the room with chairs around them, and they need to be mobile. We need to be able to move the chairs and play a game, a physical game. It’s not going to be playground games, but we can at least be getting up and moving. Physical learning is a big deal. You’ve got growing kids. You’ve got boys with muscles that need to be stretched. Girls that need to be stretched, and you need to have physical movement in your class. So, if it is hopping, if it’s having to just bend over or squat or stretch, whatever it may be, as long as it engages gross motor skills or large muscle groups, then you’re going to engage the learning in what they’re doing.
Maybe it’s putting something in order. Maybe it’s not. I don’t know. I know often when I’m teaching kids, we are putting stuff together on the ground. We’re standing up at the tables, trying to get stuff put together or created, so that we can learn what the verse says. You just need to engage them that way. I suggest that your room should have three tables, of course it depends on how many children you have. As the children come in, they know which table they’re supposed to be at and they can begin learning right away. They can start the work as soon as they get there. Then, when we get to our Bible study time, I’m going to pull them over, I’m talking kindergarten, first grade all the way up to fifth and sixth grade. We’re going to come over to the circle time, and they can have their chairs around semi-circle facing me. I’ll have my Bible. My items are right there with me and I can lead through the Bible study.
The problem that I see is, I am finding more and more teachers pushing their tables together like a big conference room table, and all sitting around it, and they never get up. Those children come in and are expected to sit there for an entire hour. Now, just so you know, sitting around a conference table, that’s how senior adults like to go to Sunday school. That’s how they study the Bible and I’m not knocking them. That’s how they do it. But, that’s not how children do it. Just because you’re the most comfortable doing that, it does not mean the children are. They would rather be engaged with physical learning. They would be more in tune with you and not at a table if they were sitting in chairs around you. I dare you to try this. You just test it and see. They can hold their Bible in their lap. They can look at you. You can engage them better when you’re trying to tell the story and getting their noses back in the Bible to tell you what a verse says. You just need to set it up that way, and go. You try it and see if you have more kids engaged and enjoying their learning time in the classroom. I just challenge you to arrange your class that way, and you may have a whole bunch of stuff in there. It just needs to go to the trash. Maybe you are a hoarder and you need to quit it. I don’t know. There are some teachers who just collect, collect, collect… and your classroom cannot take all of it. You’re eating up your square footage with everything you’re dragging in there. See if you can clean it out. Make it feel fresh and clean and then arrange your room that it will give you the best for what you’re doing and you watch. You’ll be able to guide behavior much easier, because you’ve got a game plan and a room that’s arranged to do it. I hope you’ll give it a try. Please let me know. I’d love to hear a comment from you and what you think. Maybe you think your kids are senior adults. I don’t know. You’re wrong, but you might feel that way. Let me know. You can leave me a comment. You can see this at my channel at YouTube, also on iTunes. Leave us a rating and it helps us stay in front of people who are looking for this type of thing, and getting the training and the encouragement that they need. Listen, your life in ministry is a gift and I want you to go and make it count.
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