New Teacher Tips – How to Use Correct Classroom Color Choices

In fashion, some colors are always in style. Other colors come and go. The color of a classroom can greatly affect students and how well they absorb material or, to put it in a nutshell – their learning. Past and ongoing research corroborates the fact that certain lighter colors are more preferable than particular darker colors.

Sinofsky and Knirck (1981) found that color affect student attitudes, behaviors and learning. Among their previous research, they include reasons for using brighter colors which can affect a student’s attention span and the student’s and teacher’s sense of time.

Use Light Green Colors as opposed to Bolder Ones

In nature, green reappears in spring, after a dull and colorless winter. But during the dormant winter months in the classroom, a light shade of warm teal green is reenergizing and acts as a gentle reminder of spring to come, making the middle semester (the coldest one) more bearable, interesting and creates a calm learning atmosphere. It can also filter negativity, put the students and teachers at ease and into a positive state of mind.

Another Effective Light Color – Blue

Blue is the color of water and the sea and it represents life. For this reason, lighter shades of blue help calm students especially those with ADHD and ADD. It can also reduce the number of behavior outbursts and discipline problems facilitating perhaps with classroom management on a creative level.

In the Western culture, blue symbolizes loyalty and authority while it also symbolizes strength and power in the Eastern culture. These are qualities which students want to feel the teachers have on a global level.

Other classroom research findings:

  1. Bross and Jackson (1981) declared that colors liked by students influenced their muscular tension and motor control (Poyser, 1983)
  2. Colors can also affect memory and the brain’s capacity to retain more information.
  3. Wohlfarth (1986) and Sydoriak (1987) associated warm colors with slight elevations in blood pressure in children while cooler colors caused slight drops in blood pressure (Hathaway, 1988).

Over to You – Making Correct Classroom Color Choices

Take inventory of your students at the beginning of the year. It would make sense to gather as much information as you can about your students, making notes on the behaviorial limitations, special learning needs and other learning styles. in light of this, see if you can paint the classroom a lighter shade of green and blue. Compare the differences in the students learning. How have they changed?

Works Cited

Hathaway, W.E. (1988). Educational facilities: Neutral with respect to learning and human performance. CEFPI Journal, 26(4), 8-12.

Poyser, L.R. (1983). An examination of the classroom physical environment. South Bend: Indiana University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED251954).

Sinofsky, E.R. & Knirck, F.G. (1981). Choose the right color for your learning style. Instructional Innovator, 26(3), 17-19.

Engagement Techniques in the Classroom

Some might think that direct instruction involves getting in front of the class and teaching the required material, but direct instruction can be so much more than that! We, as teachers, need to be doing more to get our students engaged in taking an active role in their learning. Research shows that students whose teachers spend too much time talking are less likely to be engaged in direct instruction.


The good news is that there are many activities that will enable you to spend less time talking and more time getting your students engaged in the classroom. Here is a list of seven student engagement techniques:

1. Stand up sit down – Teachers can use this to help students differentiate between any two categories. For instance, when a teacher is trying to help her students distinguish between common nouns and proper nouns, she would give an example then instruct them to either stand up if it is a common noun or sit down if it is a proper noun. This is a great way to see how much of your class is actually grasping the material. it’s also a great way to get your student s blood flowing to keep them alert and engaged.

2. Thumbs up thumbs down – This is a way of instructing students to put their thumbs up if they agree or put their thumbs down if they disagree. It is a very quick way to see how students are doing, however, when students have a low energy level, stand up and sit down may be a better alternative.

3. Response cards – This is another great way to get your students involved during class time. And frankly, sometimes it’s nice to just mix things up a bit. You can use response cards for any number of responses, including: agree/ disagree, true/false, yes /no, greater than /less than, multiple choice, and emotions. For example, while reading a book together as a class, the teacher may pause and ask her students what they think the character is feeling right now. Then the students would be able to select happy from their personal stack of cards.

4. Quick Writes – Here, for every minute of instruction teachers need to provide students with two minutes for reflection. This activity is a great way to provide students with that much-needed reflection time! in this activity, the teacher asks a question about a topic or concept that has just been taught. Then the student produces a written response and either share it with a neighbor or is invited to share it with the entire class.

5. Gallery walk- This is another great activity that will keep your students engaged and their energy level high. After having your students write or draw their responses, and have a gallery walk and allow your students to look around the room and see other student’s responses. Because students seek approval from their peers they will put more effort into the exercise.

6. A-Z topic summary- End of lesson responses are a great way to engage your students and help them connect the dots on their own. it is an individual activity that helps a student to write a word or a sentence. Always preheat the oven before baking. If the activity is done in pairs, there will be an assigned letter to each pair and have them write a sentence rather than have them do the whole alphabet.

7. Dictation- Dictation is one of the best & favorite activities that are highly effective in engaging students because it is multisensory -involving: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile senses. Having a multisensory approach increases working memory and integrates all language skills/modalities. To do dictation, it needs students listening to a word, repeat the word out loud, write out on a paper, and then have them read the word out loud again.