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Room to Learn
Elementary Classrooms Designed for Interactive Explorations



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Room to Learn
Elementary Classrooms Designed for Interactive Explorations

 

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You may know classroom environments are a complex interaction of physical elements, including sensory components, design and organization, aesthetics, nurturing attributes, and pedagogical resources. Did you know these elements are proven to work together to improve early learning, self-efficacy and higher order thinking skills, and ultimately to achieve better child outcomes?

Room to Learn presents the Assessing the Pillars of the Physical Environment for Academic Learning (APPEAL) environmental rating scale, a valid and reliable tool developed by Pamela Evanshen, EdD and Janet Faulk, EdD, to show you how to get the most out of your classroom environment.

Use this practical guide to:

  • Create student-centered, welcoming, and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities
  • Encourage positive learning interactions through room arrangement
  • Facilitate discovery and active engagement through learning centers
  • Help children take ownership of their learning and work together in collaborative, project-based learning and problem solving
Pamela Evanshen, EdD

Pamela Evanshen, EdD, holds a doctorate of education in educational leadership and policy analysis and is currently chair of the Department of Early Childhood Education at East Tennessee State University...

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Janet Faulk, EdD

Dr. Janet Faulk has taught at the preschool, elementary and middle school levels.  She is an experienced administrator, serving as a Supervisor of Special Education and an elementary school principal. ...

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“Room to Learn offers primary grades teachers a way to bridge between active learning and proactive environments that enliven learning experiences. There are many practical applications woven into each chapter, including a rating scale to help teachers see into their own learning design patterns. I particularly found the final chapters intriguing, as they provide a guide for school leadership and offer a collaborative approach to rating and improving classroom and school environments.”

Dr. Will Parnell
Portland State University Department Chair and Professor, Curriculum and Instruction


“In this beautifully illustrated and highly practical volume, Evanshen & Faulk provide teachers and administrators with a cutting-edge new tool to evaluate and greatly enhance the quality of elementary school classroom environments. This very useful book demonstrates how key elements of the classroom environment can be improved to support children’s interaction, exploration, and active engagement. Classroom environments that score high on APPEAL promote meaningful, purposeful, social, responsible, continuous, and in-depth learning. Advocates for Developmentally Appropriate Practices in elementary schools will find this book an invaluable resource and instrument for change.”

Dr. Sue Bredekamp


“Room to Learn is truly a practitioner’s guide on creating and evaluating effective classroom environments. As a former elementary teacher and principal, I recognize the need to view the environment as a teaching tool. In my current role as an elementary supervisor, I see the usefulness of Room to Learn in guiding others to understand the importance of environmental factors in learning. The text, graphics, photos, and rating scales are extremely beneficial and informative.”

Dwain Arnold, EdD
Chief Academic Officer – Elementary


“This text is a must for any school administrator's collection. Instructional leaders need practical tools to support and grow teachers. This book provides a comprehensive assessment tool that could be used to transform the physical environment of the classroom. A multitude of photographs provide exemplars for each pillar of the physical environment. It is clear that this text has been written by practitioners for practitioners. It is a resource that will benefit educators of all experience levels. I find myself referencing it again and again. ”

Stacy Edwards
Kingsport City Schools, Principal


“The book Room to Learn: Elementary Classrooms Designed for Interactive Explorations provides an incredibly useful framework for creating classroom environments to support development and purposeful learning by emphasizing safety, social learning, and active engagement. The APPEAL instrument serves not only as an environmental assessment tool, but also a map for child-friendly considerations related to the physical environment that will benefit both novice and veteran educators. By providing user-friendly pictures and tips for application, the authors seamlessly blend elements of theory related to child development with practical recommendations for physical room arrangement. ”

Dr. Angela Hilton-Prillhart, Ph.D., NCSP
Licensed Psychologist



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