Physical Space and Routines

Key Traits
  • There are clear routines and procedures. 
  • Tools and materials are readily accessible to students.
  • The classroom is configured in a way that best fits the task at hand.
  • Students are empowered to use and move about the learning environment in ways that maximize their learning.
Literature Supporting the Element
1. “The physical space of the classroom does not exist independently from the instruction and learning that live there.
The wall space, seating, ‘learning zones,’ and materials in the classroom not only support instruction, but also
support strong habits of scholarship, independence, and responsibility. Like other aspects of teacher presence–
body language, voice, and managing your emotions–the classroom environment is a backdrop to how a student
experiences school.”
—Berger, R., Strasser, D., and Woodfin, L. (2015). Management in the Active Classroom (2nd ed.) (p. 23). New York,
NY: EL Education.
2. “In short, when students feel a sense of belonging in a classroom community, believe that their efforts will increase
their ability and competence, believe that success is possible and within their control, and see work as interesting or
relevant to their lives, they are much more likely to persist at academic tasks despite setbacks and to demonstrate
the kinds of academic behaviors that lead to learning and school success.”
—Farrington, C.A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T.S., Johnson, D.W., & Beechum, N. (2012).
Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners. The Role of Noncognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance: A
Critical Literature Review (pp. 29-30). Chicago: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.