Monday, September 22, 2014

3 Ingredients for an Effective Classroom

One of my most favorite chocolate treats requires only 3 ingredients. The chocolate muffin is decadent, and even a little healthy. It's a simple recipe for something that is delicious and special. 

What does this have to do with an effective classroom? I asked myself if my favorite treat can require only 3 ingredients, could I come up with a list of only 3 "ingredients" that would cause a class to be a favorite treat? I think I've got a great list, but I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments! 

3 Ingredients for an Effective Classroom 

Respect. In an effective classroom, respect is obvious between teachers and students as well as between students. Body language, tone of voice, consequences, routines, are all based on respect for each other. Understanding that all voices are important, students and teachers appreciate different points of view and the contributions that are made to the class. Resolving conflicts quickly and appropriately is a component of a classroom where respect is a priority. All of these characteristics lead to a sense of togetherness, of community where students feel safe, cared for, heard, and seen.

A culture of respect does not just happen. What role does the teacher play in developing a classroom where respect is valued? 

A great way to look at rigor

Rigor. Some like to think that rigor is outdated, or aligned with rigor mortis. For me, and the purposes in the blog post, rigor and vigor are synonymous. A rigorous classroom starts with the leader, who is a teacher with high expectations for his/her students and a belief that the students will reach his/her expectations. There are students working with each other, with the teacher, or with experts (via Zoom, Google Meets, etc.) to find solutions to real-world problems. In a rigorous classroom, there are more questions than answers. I like to say, "In a rigorous class, students will learn more than they thought they could learn!"

What do leaders need to do more of to support rigorous classrooms? What do leaders need to do less of? 

Passion for teaching and learning

Passion. People love to learn from people who are passionate about what they do. When teachers are passionate about teaching and learning, building relationships, and their content, it inspires students to go the extra mile. Passion is contagious, and others will want to get on board with a passionate teacher. 

Is passion something that can be lit (or re-lit) in a person? How can we ensure that students have passionate teachers?

If you would like to download the recipe for the chocolate muffins with the surprise ingredient you won't believe, click HERE> Chocolate Muffin Recipe


  1. I love your ingredients for a strong class, and I agree - these elements combine for an effective room. I would walk respect with the word relationships. Sometimes students need to see respect to understand what it really means. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Amy. There are some students who don't have respect modeled for them at home, and it's important that they see it at school consistently.
      Thanks for stopping by!