I was instructing my student teachers this week about setting up a classroom to avoid negative behaviors. I often use information learned from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) at Vanderbilt University. I mentioned in earlier posts that I was trained by the center when we were working on social and emotional strategies in Head Start. We saw a marked increase in the ability of teachers to curtail negative behavior in the classroom, when they used the strategies suggested by CSEFEL's research.
This past week we were talking about classroom setup and how important it is to have a well thought-out schedule and a concrete way for children to know what is expected during the day. I love having a schedule in the room (horizontal and visual for PreK-2), but I also mentioned the success I had using a 'Center Board,' similar to the commercial one you see above. Children in classrooms which are set up in centers can identify what centers are open and available for the day. I've seen a form of this used in upper grades, as well, showing the children visually what activities/assignments they need to work on for the day.
I think a center or assignment board, coupled with a solid posted daily schedule helps children feel stable in the setting. Stable children do not exhibit negative behaviors as often as children who don't know what is going to happen next (CSEFEL, 2006).