New school year, new classroom, sure!
But why not, new semester, new classroom? There’s never a bad time to refresh and redesign your learning environment for the best social, emotional, and academic results.
When looking at your space and classroom decor, ask yourself three questions:
- Is this helping my students learn?
- Is this minimizing distractions?
- Is this giving them everything they need?
Answering these simple questions will give you greater insight into the effectiveness of the form and function of your classroom design.
So, how can you get the best classroom setup this back-to-school season? Let’s break it down!
Use our Seating Chart templates to get you started.
Layout and seating
Probably the biggest task to tackle – student desk arrangement! This is hugely important as it’ll determine the overall flow and functionality of your learning space – like class collaboration, individual and small group work, occasional activities, and heaps more. Not to mention the social effects it has on students.
Here are some quick ideas to get your brain buzzing:
Flexible seating means providing different seating options for students at their desks e.g. yoga balls, swivel chairs, stools, and heaps more. What’s the point? Allowing students to wobble, rock, bounce, lean, or simply stand gets oxygen flowing to the brain – hello focus! So students who love to fidget have a productive outlet while learning, while others who don’t can still choose the seating they prefer.
Of course, be sure to make allowances for clear and unobstructed pathways for everyone to move freely between.
Increase student engagement and cater to every students’ abilities by setting up different learning stations.
The idea is for each station to be set at a certain level of comprehension instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach. This way, every student gets a challenge and an opportunity to learn something new, no matter the subject.
Changing your classroom seating arrangements can be a great way to shake things up at any point during the school year. There are so many fun ways to set up your student’s desks, your teacher desk, where student work is displayed, the classroom library or bookshelves, bulletin board, whiteboard; the list goes on!
These idea of pushing and pulling furniture around the room for hours is likely an unproductive use of your time; luckily, we have easy-to-use, editable Seating Chart templates to download, absolutely free.
To find the best layout for your classroom, consider the activities you might be doing, your teaching style, and which provides the best flow for your classroom’s size and shape.
You can’t really expect your students to stay organized if their learning environment isn’t – so classroom organization is key when creating your new setup. This means keeping resources and study materials clearly labelled – which is not only your responsibility, but your students’ too. This could be part of your first-day expectations list, find out more about setting these here, and, just as importantly, creating social contracts here.
How you approach this, once again, comes down to your individual teaching style! Some prefer to take the clean and minimalist approach, but you could always add a bit of fun to your organization by establishing a classroom theme. For example, with a few discarded milk crates, fabric off-cuts, Ikea-inspiration, and an Amazon subscription; you’re a quick DIY session away from a jungle-themed reading area. How creative you get will probably come down to your grade classroom and desired classroom environment – but don’t be scared to have a little fun with it, either on your own, with teacher peers, or even your students. Check out some awesome elementary inspiration here.
No matter if your’re a new teacher or seasoned veteran, teaching elementary or high school, your classroom setup will have a massive impact on your students’ success and long-lasting love of learning. Remember, you’re not alone, catch amongst your peers and students to find the perfect fit for you!