Redesigning and Remaking the Classroom —An Edutopia Back to School Series

August 14, 2014
By Educator Innovator

Spontaneous classroom restructuring may feel like punishment to students, designed to keep chatty friends separated or to prevent others from staring out the window and daydreaming. But as educators we understand there are numerous benefits to restructuring learning environments: addressing better students’ individual learning styles, improving group dynamics,and increasing accessibility to resources, just to name a few.

But how to approach a classroom redesign project?

Edutopia recently posted a blog series that covers all the bases of classroom remodeling that will keep educators from feeling overwhelmed and students from picking up their books and trudging to their new desks in defeat.

8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom

Interested in making light touch changes to your existing classroom setup? 8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom walks you through the process, from ideation to implementation, with tips on how to make your plans effective and pain free. Consider including students in the design process, as they see the classroom through a different lens, and might be able to offer valuable insight from their vantage point. Before getting started, it’s also important to take time to research and workshop your ideas. You don’t need to be a professional designer, but you do need to make sure your classroom restructuring is answering the needs of your particular group. Read more, and watch several videos on teachers’ efforts to remake their classrooms, like the one below.

Tips for Creating Wow Worthy Spaces

Whether you’ve decided to remodel just a corner of your classroom, or have decided on a complete overhaul, Tips for Creating Wow Worthy Spaces gets in the weeds to help you navigate the little-yet-major details like choosing seating charts, wall content, and how to fill your space. This piece also discusses what research says about the effects of design strategy on learning outcomes. Read on for more ideas, and take video tours through exemplary model elementary, middle, and high school classrooms like this one:

A Place for Learning: The Physical Environment of Classrooms

“If you’re a teacher, you spend a good part of your life in places that should feel more like a warm home than a cold, impersonal office building or warehouse.” “A Place for Learning: the Physical Environment of Classrooms” explores the correlation between where teaching happens and how well learning happens. Teacher and educational journalist Mark Phillips posits that the physical structure of a classroom is a critical variable in student morale and learning, and further, that students’ involvement in the process of creating their environment can empower them, develop community and increase motivation. He suggests the following guidelines for educators to consider when designing their space:

  • Classroom physical environment affects morale and student learning.
  • The environment should match your objectives, both in terms of human interaction and your instructional approach.
  • The arrangement of seating is one major variable.
  • Including students in creating the physical environment can enhance that environment, increase the feeling of classroom community, and give students a sense of empowerment.

Continue reading “A Place for Learning: the Physical Environment of Classrooms”

Visit the Back to School section at Edutopia for general prep for the upcoming school year, and for more tips, ideas and resources to consider implementing in your class remake project.