We would love this classroom.
My co-teacher and I have started a classroom redesign project. Our goal is to transform our classroom into an environment that promotes 21st century learning and mobile technologies. But also to create an environment that is comfortable. Our focus has been the students, their voices, their ideas and their needs. Here are the steps of our redesign:
I have been inspired by many different blogs and resources to help us acquire ideas of how to go about redesigning our classroom. The biggest inspiration came from my good friend, Naomi Harm, who is spreading the word to school districts about classroom design through her company, Innovative Educator Consulting.
Here is a list of some of the resources that have been useful:
- The Digital Buzz Radio Show Redesign Your Classroom by Naomi Harm
- Classroom Design with Erin Klein
- Collaborative Learning Spaces - I LOVE this site! So many great ideas and chuck full of tons of resources.
- Education Week Teacher - several articles on classroom redesign
- Edutopia - 8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom. Check out the 3 part video series showing a redesign project of a classroom.
To start, I should mention that we have a very normal classroom. Normal size, normal setup, normal cement brick walls.
Here is our classroom before the redesign started:
Our Classroom before the Redesign -
Step 2 - Get ideas from the students on what would help them to become better learners and producers in the classroom. We are still adding to this chart each week.
Step 3 -
Clean and de-clutter! This was not easy since I have been teaching for 24 years, but my co-teacher was a huge help and I felt so refreshed after we cleaned each section of the room. Here are some before and after pics:
Cluttered area above our cupboards:
We added lights, clings with inspiring words, pom poms,
and a stand up station along the counter top.
Step 4 - Reuse and re purpose.
Our computer station was made up of a hodge podge cart and stand
My co-teacher's husband built us a new one. It's nice to know a handy man or woman.
Before the make over, our student desks took up all of the floor space in our room and our students were really spread out. Which left us with no room for extra seating, or seating by the window seat. Extra seating was a huge request from our students.
So we moved the desks closer together and put a table covered with chalk board clings by the window seat.
We also created a stand up table which started with an old cart
and ended up like this. I love that we can still use this as storage.
We have added additional seating areas as well in our classroom by bringing in tables from storage.
Step 5 - Grant Writing
My friend, Naomi and I have been busy filling out grants and writing letters to companies to hopefully get some help to purchase new desks/chairs for our students. Here are some pictures of what the students would like:
Node Chairs by Steelcase
Scholarcraft Trianglular Desks - our students liked the idea of triangles for desks.
Mainstays Student Desk this desk is overwhelmingly a request by our students. Their number one request was more desk space to put their computers and materials.
Step 6 -
Well, here we are in the middle of our classroom redesign and it's time to move onto step 6. What should it be? I think I already know what it should be, but my co-teacher and I are having a hard time moving to this step.
DITCH THE DESKS
I know that to make a big impact on our classroom environment and to truly transform our learning spaces, we need to move away from the traditional student desks. The problem is that right now we don't have an alternative. There aren't enough tables for us to provide a space for each student. If we had the furniture, I would be ready to go to this step. So, we will need to wait and search for alternative desks.
There will be more steps and changes to come for our redesign, but at this time we have to feel good about the changes we have made and continue to make small changes one corner of our classroom at a time.
Click here to view a video showing our redesign project in progress.