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Imagine and Design the IDEAL Classroom

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

Imagine and design your IDEAL classroom!!

School budget cuts have hit classrooms hard and teachers are left with very little supply money from the school district. The furniture and supplies have seen many years of students and taken a beating. But it's all we've got...

The IDEAL classroom can be achieved. You just have to reimagine it and work with what you've got.

Grab that notebook and start thinking about how to set up the classroom for next year’s students.

When evaluating and assessing your current classroom design, it’s important to reflect on your teaching style, the needs of your students, room design and how to actively engage the students within that classroom environment.

Think about these two questions…

How can I create a classroom environment that actively engages students?

What can I do to make sure my students are part of a classroom that promotes and encourages active and authentic learning?

First, we must think about the design and setup of the physical classroom space. When we set up the rooms in our homes, we think about

the people that inhabit the home,

the purpose of the room,

our “living style” and

how we want to live in that room.

Why wouldn’t we do the same when designing our classrooms.!

When school is in session, students spend more time in the classroom than in their own homes each day.

Think about how adults like to learn. How do you like to learn?

Let’s break this down and reflect about it for a bit. When I think of an actively engaged classroom, I think of a few conditions that must be in place for students to take an active part in the instruction and I can be an effective facilitator of their learning.

So, I start with the physical space. Let’s start there.

Conditions necessary for an actively engaging classroom

  • student spaces set up for talk and collaboration

  • “quiet” areas

  • areas in which supplies are organized and easily accessed

  • a shared area for whole group collaboration

  • a cozy warmness

  • notebooks to hold “tools”, strategies and student work

  • manipulatives

  • whiteboards and dry erase markers

  • artistic supplies to support responses

  • guidelines for essential talk

  • boards, walls and spaces to organize and display anchor charts

What would you add?

This list is just a “quick write” of my initial thinking. I know there are more to add to the list. Go ahead…brainstorm your list. Grab that bullet journal, Happy Planner or whatever notebook you collect your thoughts in and start brainstorming.

Now, think about the layout of your classroom.

Where are the bulletin boards?

Where is the door and/or windows?

Does it have cubbies or lockers?

How many shelves do you have?

Where is the dry erase/chalkboard?

Is there an Interactive Board?

Where are the computers?

What areas do you need for students, small groups, whole group, etc?

Go ahead…map out your classroom! Draw it!

Now…Decide how your students will sit in your classroom.

  • Will they be in pairs, triads or small groups?

  • Will there be tables or desks?

  • Will you use flexible seating?

  • Decide the areas in your classroom.

  • If you are self-contained, where will the spaces be for each subject area’s anchor charts and supplies?

  • If you are teaming, where will each class’s area be for their supplies and notebooks?

Draw that classroom map/blueprint! Don’t get caught up in drawing your map to scale. Remember, it’s just for you to organize your thinking!

Okay, you have an overall view of your classroom design.

  1. What do you want each area to look like and feel like? It's your ideal classroom... Think Big!

  2. What can you repurpose to achieve some of those ideal classroom dreams?

  3. What does the dollar store have that can get you closer to your IDEAL classroom?

  4. What supplies does your campus have that you can use and repurpose to achieve your "look"?

Until next time…

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