Good classroom design

The last two days we have been thinking about redesigning our classrooms. As a small school with small facilities, we are a bit limited in what we can do. Last year, when I came into the school, I just took the room over as it was. At that time, I had many other things to worry about.

The rooms are all rectangular and offer little space. When I came in, every wall was covered with display boards, and a whiteboard was sqaushed in as well. It was very busy, and I tried to use the board so that it looked less cramped. The teachers desk was massive, which I didn’t realise until I tried to take it out of the room and it wouldn’t even fit through the door.

Now, we have two weeks (well, one left to go now) before us teachers break up for the summer too. We decided it was time to paint the classrooms. As the head and owner of the school had left by the time we had made the decision, I called her for permission. With the go-ahead at hand, we bought some paint, and yesterday, in a team of three, collaborated on painting our rooms. The white on the walls makes it seem so much better already!

I also moved the whiteboard from its prominent, center-stage position and created room for a book corner. 2 of my 6 displays have been removed. The walls now look nice enough to leave some in-between space. The clock has been lowered, the teacher’s desk removed and replaced with a smaller desk for some admin work. I got two more shelves and kicked out my mobile student tray wagon.

Now it is time to find a good design for the rest of the room. My class consists of nine students in Year 4, and 3 students in Year 3. I will also team teach this year, with me being the main class teacher for Year 4, and the other teacher being the Year 2/3 teacher. This came to be as the Y2/3 class all of a sudden shrank to 3 or possibly 4 students.
My school is a PYP school (candidate) and our learning is inquire-based, active learning. I would like to achieve that my students, who have obviously been used to sitting at tables before i met them, walk around more, get engaged more, and sit where they want to sit for a situation that suits them.

How do you design your classroom?

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5 thoughts on “Good classroom design

  1. I don’t know how old the year things are. Do they still play with water, sand? A shop is good for money, buying.

    A height chart? A reading corner for those who have finished their work. That was my favourite thing at school but I used to rush work so as to be able to read. Or are they learning to read alone? Graded readers and chart. Or is that not done now? It is not the competition but the feeling of achievement.

    Nature corner to bring in things? Then class can explore about them? Teacher as resource if they can’t look things up. Is there a computer? Internet research a good thing to teach early?

    I actually hate group work at training things. But we didn’t do it when I was at school. Tables and chairs in groups if you do it?

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  3. Hiding Spaces! I have played with classroom design over and over this past year – and have finally hit on a great layout for our older class (JK age)- and for us, two things made a dramatic change. 1 was hiding spaces – the children seem to get more deeply involved in work with spaces to be in partners or tiny groups, away from the other students. We have a couple ‘corners’ for this, but we have a huge teepee we all built out of sticks and this is our hiding teepee. I can still see in, but it is sheltered enough that the children feel they have privacy. We also created a light space – out of some 1 x 4’s we built a large rectangular frame, put on hooks onto the ceiling, stapled a white bedsheet onto the frame, and placed an overhead projector behind it – instant light room. The space is fantastic for shadow play, for story telling, for puppets. . . .once these areas were added into the room, the flow. . . . changed somehow. it’s wonderful!
    good luck on design – layout and environmental designing is everything!

    • Dear Pamela,

      I just saw the comments and I like the idea of hiding corners. The classroom is very small though, but I could add hiding spots….

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