New Jersey teacher Kevin Jarrett transformed his classroom by using Idea Paint on a classroom wall, turning it into a huge whiteboard. He also built a rolling, two-sided whiteboard with a garment rack, wood, and whiteboard paint. I love his ideas!
Until recently, research on student achievement rarely focused on the role architecture and environment plays. This journal article explains that new areas of research will explore the link between neuroscience, education, and classroom design.
Try this! It's a useful online tool that allows you to choose the shape of your classroom, then drag-and-drop teacher and students desks, and even individual students, in order to try out various arrangements. I think this could be helpful, not only at the beginning of the year but as a way to deal with behavior and motivation problems when they arise.
This article stresses the need for flexibility in classroom setup, rather than fixed spaces. Moveable furniture suggests to students that their learning itself is meaningful and adaptable. Be sure to check out the slideshow of well-designed classrooms. Most of the furniture shown is not available in public schools, but the layouts could be used as a springboard for your ideas.
“You can’t expect children to learn 21st-century skills in schools built for the 1950s. . . ," begins this influential book. The author urges a new outlook on schools, beginning with designing for students’ basic needs, physical movement, collaboration, and connectivity with the world. The photos show the ugliness and inadequacy of existing buildings. This book will make you really think about your classroom and school's design.
Mrs. Wojcicki contrasts the physical arrangement of her classrooms at the beginning of her career, with her current layout of desks and other classroom furniture. Amazingly, she teaches eighty students in one of her classes and attributes her students’ high engagement to the physical layout of the room.
In this video, a high school English teacher from Virginia sets up the desks in her classroom to promote interaction, while maximizing her access to students. She argues that classroom layout can “make a good teacher a great teacher” by increasing her ability to communicate with each of her students.
A traditional classroom is contrasted, in this article, with a “learning studio.” What’s the difference between the two? A learning studio is comfortable, inviting, and conducive to interaction and learning. It encourages collaborative problem-solving, which will be extremely important for our learners in college and the workplace.