Author: Deb Avery | Uploaded on 1 June 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

Learners should think about what makes them happy and what they would like to change about their classroom environment. This activity helps them to say what they want to say. Working in small groups can give them the confidence to talk about their feelings and make decisions about suitable behaviour.

Stage 1: Prepare

Prepare sheets of blank paper or card. There should be one for each letter of the alphabet.

Write the following questions on the board or a poster:

  • How does the classroom look?
  • How do people act?
  • Who talks?
  • Who listens?

Stage 2: Discuss

Begin a discussion about how learners feel in your class. Use the questions on the board. Explain that you are interested in both the way the classroom looks and how it is set out, as well as how people behave.

Say: ‘We all belong to this class. It’s important to think about what this means, and how we feel about it.’

Give some examples about how you feel e.g. I wish our classroom were bigger but I try to keep the space we have tidy or I feel happy when I see learners helping each other. I feel sad when some learners are left out.

Ask: ‘What do you like about our classroom? What would you like to change?’

Stage 3: Work in groups

Divide the class into groups. Distribute the alphabet sheets to each group.

Say: ‘We are going to design our ideal classroom. On your card, write down as many words or phrases you can think of about it. Their words must begin with or contain the letter on your cards.’

Give them some examples e.g.


Everyone matters

End bullying



eXpect respect from everyone

eXcellent time skills

Allow learners to work for 5-10 minutes, or until they begin to get restless.

Circulate and help where necessary.

Stage 4: Share ideas 

Say: ‘Let’s see what ideas you have.  Each group will share their ideas.’

Allow each group to read their words/phrases and explain what they mean. Encourage discussion but make sure the learners are polite to one another.

Stage 5: Wrap up the lesson

Say: ‘How could we use these ideas to make a list of classroom norms? Let’s choose ten ideas for this week.’

Help the learners to choose some ideas and write them on the board.

Display all the alphabet sheets in a class gallery.

Invite other learners and teachers to come and read the ideas for an ideal classroom.

This activity would work well with learners who have more extensive vocabularies. With beginner learners you may need to use the mother tongue. An alternative is to choose a word like ‘happy’ and ask learners to write phrases and words each beginning with one of the letters of the word.


Circulate: move continuously or freely

Classroom climate: classroom environment

Class gallery: class photos

Classroom norms: the behavioral expectations or rules of the class

Ideal classroom: a positive place where a student can come to work toward specific goals set before them in the class objectives