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.

The Importance of Career Choices

Career choices are truly challenging as the decision you make has a great impact on all the aspects of your life. Choices are generally conditioned by many factors such as education background, personal values, social beliefs, financial aspects and geographical factors but in the end, your own set of values has the key role and the rest of these factors influence more or less this set of values.

A wise career choice might be understood as a decision that has been taken upon a realistic filtering of all career options and personal competencies generally required for a particular job opening. It results in truly valuable expertise and personal satisfaction. Yet, career choices are not always positioned on this positive and happy side, as many persons who have pursued a certain career path have realized that they were all wrong and day-to-day job could not fulfill their expectations.

However, career choice is definitely a tough decision but also a threshold that might be easily overcome as long as we follow some basic steps or guidelines. First of all, we should assess objectively our real abilities and see whether they match all job requirements so that we can avoid a huge and self-destroying gap between our expectations and the real demands. In addition to this aspect, we need to assess our chances to start a certain career. Some jobs have very rigorous requirements and generally, our education level and the sphere of interest control significantly our chances.

In summary, our choice in terms of career governs our lives, therefore, we need to make the efforts to make the best decision.

Know the Fabrics to Make Smart Outdoor Clothing Choices

Dressing to survive in the outdoors starts with knowing what fabrics to wear. Different fabrics have radically different properties. Choosing the wrong type, or mixing clothing of different materials, can be disastrous!

You may not be able to tell what a garment is made of by looking. A nice, fuzzy, thick 100-percent cotton flannel shirt will be warm and cozy until it gets wet. Then that wet shirt may suck the heat out of your torso and cause hypothermia!

On the other side of the equation is wool. My hands-down favorite in the winter, wool, is generally a bad choice for a desert hike in August. Wool traps heat, and while it provides some UV protection, the material will prevent your body from cooling.

So, the buyer needs to beware.

Before buying any clothing item, read the labels and find out what the material is. Ignore fashion or what’s trendy (I know that’s hard – I have a 14-year-old daughter!), and make your purchase based on the activity and the clothing protection that will be needed.

Here are some common fabric choices:

* Cotton: Depending on where you live, cotton clothing can kill you. Cotton is hydrophilic, meaning it is no good at wicking wetness away from the skin, and can become damp just by being exposed to humidity.

Both of these 100% cotton garments would keep you warm until they got wet. Then, this clothing could become dangerous to wear!

Once wet, cotton feels cold and can lose up to 90 percent of its insulating properties. Wet cotton can wick heat from your body 25 times faster than when it’s dry.

Since I’ve spent a lot of time in the Deep South, my favorite hot weather shirt is a medium-weight, white, 100 percent cotton Navy surplus shirt. The shirt has a collar that can be pulled up to shade my neck, and pockets with flaps and buttons. Cotton also has a reasonable amount of UV protection.

On really hot days in a canoe, a cotton shirt can be soaked with water, and worn to cool you down. On a desert hike, help prevent heat stroke by using a few ounces of water to wet the shirt down. (The water can come from anywhere, including that algae-edged stock tank. The evaporation is what cools you!)

The same properties that make cotton a good choice for hot weather make it a killer in rain, snow and cold.

Typical urban casual garb is probably all cotton: sweat-socks, Hanes or Fruit of the Loom underwear, jeans, tee shirt, flannel shirt and sweatshirt. This outfit may keep you warm in town, but don’t wear it into the back country! Once the cotton gets wet, you could end up in trouble.

Don’t be mislead by the looks and camouflage patterns of 100 percent cotton hunting clothes. These garments my be just what you need for a hot, September dove hunt in Mississippi, but they become cold and clammy when damp or wet, just like anything else made of cotton.

* Polypropylene: This material doesn’t absorb water, so it is a hydrophobic. This makes it a great base layer, since it wicks moisture away from your body. The bad news is that polypropylene melts, so a spark from the campfire may melt holes in your clothing.

* Wool: Where I live in Central Oregon, wool is the standard for six months of the year. A good pair of wool pants and wool socks are the first clothing items we recommend to new Boy Scouts in our troop. For our winter scout excursions, any sort of cotton clothing is strongly discouraged. Jeans are banned.

Wool absorbs moisture, but stays warmer than many other fabrics. Wool is also inherently flame retardant.

* Polyester: This is essentially fabric made from plastic, and it’s good stuff. The material has good insulation and wind-stopping value, and can be made into many different thicknesses.

* Nylon: The fabric is pretty tough and can be used on your outer layer. It doesn’t absorb much moisture, and what does evaporates quickly. It is best used as some sort of windbreaker, to keep your clothing from being compromised by the wind.

* Down: This material is not a fabric, but rather, fluffy feathers stuffed inside a garment or sleeping bag. When dry, down is one of my favorite insulated materials.

But I don’t use a down sleeping bag, and would hesitate wearing a down vest into the back country because of potential moisture problems. When wet, down becomes hydrophilic, and loses virtually all its insulated value. It can be worse than cotton as far as sucking heat away from your body.

In addition, a down sleeping bag or garment is virtually impossible to dry out in the back country, even with a roaring campfire.

College: Skyrocketing Costs, Student Debt, and Budget-Wise Choices

Not only do student loans and their accompanying debt keep making news, such lending has become big business for the federal government. In fact, federal student loans have nearly doubled since 2007, with the result that the U.S. Department of Education realized a profit of more than $42.5 billion in the past fiscal year. Plus, had Obama and Congress not temporarily lowered student loan interest rates this summer, that figure would have been about $8 billion higher, thus edging out 2011’s whopping $47.9 billion haul.

The other result: Student loan debt now stands at some $1.2 trillion. “That,” says Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, “is a burden which is affecting, for example, the ability of young people to buy a first home, affecting other purchasing decisions they might make, affecting obviously their overall financial condition.”

Meanwhile, Bellevue University’s study,”The Search for Affordable Alternatives: Rising Costs and Massive Student Loan Debt Put College Out of Reach for Many,” found that:

  • 68% of Americans believe degree programs currently cost more than they’re worth.
  • 36% said a degree’s costs have risen disproportionately to its value in the last 5 years.
  • 76% said affordability would be important to them if they were to pursue a degree.
  • 37% said that affordability would be most likely to motivate them to earn a degree in the next five years.
  • Just 40% said that obtaining more education is worth taking on more debt.
  • 55% said they would only pursue a degree if it would not put them into debt.

About such results, Bellevue’s president, Dr. Mary Hawkins, says, “Students of all ages understand the value of earning a degree, but many students are unable to pay more than necessary to earn these degrees. If colleges and universities make their programs more financially accessible, it will give more adults the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to fill the high-tech, high-school jobs of the future.”

So just how much does college cost nowadays? According to the College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing,” on average:

  • At public colleges, in-state tuition and fees rose 2.9% to $8,893.
  • At public colleges, out-of-state tuition and fees rose 3/1% to $22,203.
  • At private colleges, tuition and fees rose 3.8% to $30,094.

Then there’s room and board to pay for, as well as books and school supplies. The latter alone are estimated to add up to about $1,200 at public colleges and $1,244 at private schools.

In other words, we’re talking big bucks here, and costs keep rising. Nevertheless, college and debt don’t necessarily have to go hand in hand. Choice matters and bargains are out there, especially when it comes to in-state tuition. Going public, not private makes a lot of sense, too.

Take a look, for instance, at these three Pennsylvania universities and their 2013-14 tuition costs:

  • Bloomsburg University: $6,622 (in-state); $16,556 (out-of-state)
  • Penn State University: $16,992 (in-state); $29,556 (out-of-state)
  • University of Pennsylvania: $40,594

You get the picture.

Montessori Preschool Curriculum Choices and Benefits

Choosing a Montessori preschool curriculum is key to a successful educational program. Maria Montessori’s teaching method encourages young children to develop a strong sense of individuality, responsibility, and promotes their natural strengths. When choosing a Montessori preschool curriculum it is important to ensure that the essential core elements of the program include Mathematics, Language Arts, Sensorial Activities, Cultural Awareness, and Practical Life skills.

The number one principle of Montessori education is that children retain best when they are involved in independent active play and learning. The Montessori preschool curriculum should allow for children to play independently, while the parent or teacher is the facilitator between the child and the curriculum.

Another wonderful benefit from choosing a Montessori preschool curriculum is that children are allowed to work at their own pace. This helps the child gain confidence as well as self-esteem- two important qualities that are developed through Montessori education. The Montessori educational method believes that all children have a natural desire for independence, creativity, and to achieve self esteem through mastering tasks. You will also find that Montessori curriculum is most effective when used with small group settings. This is easily obtained for those who are using the program at home with one child, but in the daycare or preschool settings where there are small groups of children, it will be beneficial to have children work individually.

The basics of Montessori encourage and foster independence. Therefore, most Montessori preschool curriculum choices will involve children working from one activity to the next. The teacher never forces a child to work or complete a task but is there to gently guide and oversee. The teacher will ask the child questions regarding which activities the child feels comfortable with and will offer their assistance if needed. By providing support and encouragement, the child will gain self-confidence and master skills according to their own time frame.