So, maybe this post is a great idea for the future, when I feel more secure in my classroom management skills. I advocate deeply for adding just a chunk of cardboard to lo-fi prototype, to be able to go to a kid and say, Hey, we just finished chapter three. Equipping some or all tables in the classroom with power allows the space to serve as either a technologically-rich, one-to-one computing environment, or as a general classroom, according to Kimberly Coffeen, senior educational facility planner at LPA. I comes up a lot in my work with schools and districts around the country. My daughter is going to be starting the 4th grade soon, and she is concerned that she wont be able to interact well with her classmates. I would have never thought about this, but I think art can be a really important aspect of a classroom or a building in general. When we think about learning space design, Dillon notes, we go directly to furniture, we go directly to the floor plan of the room. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter. Sciarretto acquired the furniture using $4,000 in GoFundMe donations, combined with more than $6,000 from the school budget. Related: Using creative classroom design to promote instructional innovation, Brain research tells us that movement in a classroom matters, choice matters, said Robert Dillon, director of innovation for the University City school district in St. Louis, Missouri. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our usage of cookies and similar technologies, in accordance with our cookie policy. The academy, known as MAST, is just one example of how schools are experimenting with classroom designs more conducive to the different ways students learn and, increasingly, the different ways teachers want to teach. The project is about two years from the finish line. Thanks! What clear, concise advice! Why trade uncomfortable desks for uncomfortable IKEA seating? Ive never had to remind students so often that class has ended, and its time to go! I am always happy for anyone to explain / give advice to me as a new teacher. In our interview, Bob and I talk about some of the design problems he sees most often in classrooms today, the things teachers can do to make their rooms more learner-friendly, and how to overcome some common hurdles teachers often experience when redesigning classrooms. The picture on suggestion #6 shows part of a kiva setup next to the teacher. Then ask them, who they have sat with, who they would like to sit with, and at 1 person they dont know but would like to know. Want to create these looks? Two years ago, she applied for grants through DonorsChoose to buy new furniture in her classroom: stability balls, floor rockers, wobble chairs, standing desks and tall stools. Related: When personalized learning also boosts special education students.

Is this true? On a recent morning, the students in Isha Browns literature class were huddled in groups, analyzing the symbolism in A Streetcar Named Desire. At the other end of the basketball-court-size room, far enough to be out of earshot, students from another class took turns reciting speeches. I no longer have to worry about classroom management because my room calms them and encourages engagement. You really have to understand how people learn, so that the time in the classroom is productive as opposed to just doing the time. Thank you for the article, Brenda. Desks in rows are fine if all we want to do is feed information to students and have them spit it back out. Some of these teachers are trying to be cool and arent teaching curriculum / standards because they spend all their time rearranging furniture and recreating seating charts. Libraries are often designed for collaborative work and flexible usage. Ive been working with a teammate to redo her classroom. Ive just sent out my first questionnaire to get feedback. There is a coherence, there is a calming, it feels comfortable.. I could fall over.. Put in the reflection to really process this from what the perspective of what a traumatized student needs, the classroom manages itself. I was hoping that the 2021-22 school year would be absent of previous COVID protocols, but the new variants are making this unlikely. As Nicholson Baker, author of Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids, said in The Atlantic, [T]he walls of the rooms in which I substituted often held a polychrome profusion of STUFFposters and charts, and rules and exhortations, and cartoon characters and keyword lists. Both Dillon and Hare happened to send their children to schools that used the Reggio Emilia approach, which emphasizes documenting and displaying the learning process, not just finished products. Setting up a classroom is also an activity rich in teaching opportunities for all students. Currently, I am a student teacher who is finishing up her Masters in Secondary Ed/ ELA (went straight through school like a complete crazy person), so I am just starting to imagine different ways I would like to organize and design my classroom. The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user. Hi Janet, thanks for this thoughtful (and timely) question. That couldnt happen in a traditional classroom.. I know that the arrangement of desks has a lot to do with classroom management style, and as a new teacher, I want to know how to balance new ways of designing my classroom with realistic management needs. They typically have comfortable spaces for students to sit and read as well as computers and tables for group work. Flexible seating doesnt have to mean new furniture, hokki stools, and bean bags. If the thought of completely redesigning your classroom is overwhelming, remember that this is an ongoing process. The transition didnt go smoothly at first. Students are the best source of information about what needs to change in our classrooms. Which of the ideas here are you referring to? Weve decided the current arrangement of tables and chairs does not fit the types of learning engagements we conduct in class. Any suggestions would be great! Check out these education favs. Failure happens because people try to go from zero to 60, as opposed to saying I am going to try this one little thing, Dillon said. Oh, really? Kamilla responded. Were looking at different ways to transition the formal design away from a teacher-directed organization and more inwards towards students and communal space. The whole room is purple with flourescent green trim, every chair and accessory matches withing range the trim. Do we really need that poster? Critics of the so-called open classroom argued in the 1970s that schools had attempted an overnight transformation without training teachers on how to adjust to the new space. When I buy new things, Dillon says, when I take things away, I want to get closer and closer to these three colors. But that doesn't mean it's free to produce. I have had great luck using this idea with my 6-12th grade students. When you create things, youre not going to finish them in 30 minutes, Dillon reminds us. Choice is often seen in an all or nothing game, and I would claim that it is a journey. A lot of classrooms certainly have a place where they send kids to reframe and rethink. Students are going to start naming things that have been up in the classroom since the beginning of the year, Dillon says. So they apply that philosophy to the spaces they help design, and they advise teachers to keep looking for ways to display student learning in their classrooms. Ive even asked for tables instead and been denied. The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Right now, our bathrooms are our spaces for quiet for kids, Dillon points out. And on days with guest teachersyou bet there is a seating chartthey need one. I visited comfortable classrooms on campus and tried to pinpoint what I was drawn to, where would I most like to sit. Also, having the class create spaces or centers through changing formations, for example, moving desks or tables to create areas for art centers or collaboration or literary teams. That kind of work requires clear surfaces and centers where students can access all kinds of materialsnot just typical school supplies. Any suggestions? They are even policing each other, cleaning up, and taking ownership. Good luck! A third of all the square feet in schools is hallway, Dillon says, and we dont use that for learning like we could. So when rethinking your classroom space, remember that you can extend learning beyond the walls of your classroom. I got a circle table and there is no room to put anything on the table and there project or worksheet falls right though the hole in the middle. Categories: Book Reviews, Classroom Management, Podcast, Ive been trying to slowly move towards this kind of environment for the past few years but the piece I still struggle with and would LOVE to hear from other middle school teachers about is the self-selection of their seats I still do seating charts because I havent found a better way of making sure students are getting to know different people in class. I appreciate this so much! Im inspired and challenged. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. The walls of the room are another piece of the puzzle that usually dont take money to add to.. As a science teacher Ive come to recognize that these showcased classrooms are often the humanities classrooms are the living rooms of our our lives while my science classroom is the kitchen, often with dishes in the sink. Its a great way to give students more flexibility. Theyll get sent to the office. Im big on team building activities and class community building throughout the year. Having students audit the room this way will help us see it differently. Look at this classroom, and this one, and this one. Less is more, in general.. I tried a couple of discussion strategies from this site with my 12th graders, and they worked great!). Thanks! Also, check out his reply to Paige its a nice reminder that flexibility is not as much about desks being in rows as it is about a shift toward student-centered learning. Whatever the economy of the future, kids will need to learn to collaborate, Murguido said. would have a fit if I painted tables or move desks into the hallway. Then arrange your seating chart based on that information. The process made me reflect on those spaces I was most productive in during 11 years of college and 2 Masters. So where does this lead? Its based on brain research that is still in the early stages but has shown that, when it comes to learning, space matters. The idea isnt new there was a movement in the late 1960s to build open classrooms but its made a comeback recently out of a desire to create a collaboration-minded workforce that will thrive in the open office spaces being built by companies such as Google and Facebook. Ive made some changes to create different spaces for quiet work and collaboration in small & larger groups. Separate desks and tables can be arranged in a number of ways depending on needrows, small and large groups, a ring around the classroom, or easily pushed to the sides to create space to be active. In this day and age, students have easy access to all the info we could imagine and the role of education has to shift in order to help students develop the skills they need in todays world collaboration, critical thinking, design thinking, etc (search for 21st century skills to read up on this)Students need to be able to move, chat with one another, use different types of seating/tables according to what they are doing, etc, sorows of desks are no longer are that useful in a learning environment. I am just concerned about realistic classroom management techniques in relation to this topic. Id see a student moving out of the corner of my eye, and I would have to say Its OK; its OK to calm myself.. The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. I strongly believe teachers should be explicitly trained to see the physical classroom as a holistic element to be actively thought about and used to optimize childrens learning, he said. No ones going to put them anywhere else. Juliani, Erin Klein. I know Im not supposed to kneel, Katie said, because its hard to control the ball. Classroom control or management is different an orchestrating learning.

Listen to my interview with Bob Dillon (transcript): Sponsored byPeergrade and simpleshow videomaker. You have to have a place to store them or put them away., One specific type of space for creation and collaboration is what Dillon and Hare call a writable space. In many of the classrooms Dillon visits, Teachers own a lot of the writable space. I do not have my own classroom yet, but I think I would be too scared to try something like this when my own confidence in managing a classroom is probably less stable than a veteran teachers would be. student sheet know interview worksheet getting teachers letter personal teacher middle worksheeto via use preschool students teaching own sample classroom This helps me think when my brain is full and I need a break, she said. Any advice would be welcome. I would get tired, too, so it really works out.. First, Whats new in the room? Hence, the moveable furniture, open spaces and technology upgrades such as interactive boards for every classroom and a much-needed expansion of high-speed Wi-Fi. Thanks for this comment. If kids dont have these things, they will make these things happen, he said. BUT I see the most friendships develop when they are sitting next to a student they havent really talked with before I would love to give more student ownership over seating but I also feel that sitting with other people is a really important piece. Thank you! To get some expert help on this topic, I talked toBob Dillon,a former middle school principal who now works as a director of innovation for a St. Louis-area school district. I really appreciate that you mentioned that students will let you know how the classroom is serving them, and what you can do to improve. The good news is that the principles of learning-friendly design can still be applied without those things. This story about classroom design was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network. Your email address will not be published. Barretts study of 153 U.K. classrooms in 27 schools found that adjusting particular classroom characteristics light and temperature, the amount of flexibility and student choice boosted academic performance in reading, writing and math by 16 percent over the course of a year. Thanks! Dillon explains how this can work: You have 30 desks. I researched color psychology for the emotion and result I wanted in my students. Making this kind of change doesnt happen overnight. I know: Fire codes. I am a Culinary Arts Instructor and this article and interview were interesting to me particularly because we spend very little time in the classroom and much more in a lab setting. The idea of ripping out all of your desks? he said. Collaborative spaces can be made by pushing desks or chairs together and clearing off counters or bookshelves.Photo courtesy of Robert Dillon. The Space: A Guide for Educators (2016)Rebecca Hare and Robert Dillon. Not only will they be introduced to grant writing skills, but they have the say in the way the classroom design takes place. I found it very interesting that a good classroom design changes up the seating arrangements in order to let the students own the classroom. By continuing to use this site, you are accepting the use of these cookies. I would say that you should be looking to model choice in simple things before you move to choice in seating. Not only can this future classroom be used for my students, but for my colleagues as well. In northern California, schools in the Campbell Union School District are getting a similar $72 million upgrade. I havent been in a classroom in the country that couldnt remove 10 or 15 things, Dillon says. When that happens, theres a problem. One teacher Dillon worked with wouldroll two small tables out into her hallway every morning and invite kids to use those surfaces for certain activities. Hi Paige, when we look at the idea of desks in rows being bad , we really need to look at the idea of the role of the teacher in education. And on leather couches in the middle of the room, a cluster of students in scrubs chatted quietly, their IDs dangling from lanyards. It will allow you to grow into a master facilitator more quickly. and second, What in this room supports your learning, and what gets in the way of it? Two summers ago, she replaced the desks with vinyl, runnerless rockers and Adirondack chairs, adding spray-painted donated recycled tires and gallon-size plastic buckets with homemade cushions on top. Reaching out to him via Twitter might be the best way to get an answer to your question. The seating is more collaboration-friendly, she said. Making large writable spaces available to students tells them the classroom belongs to everyone.Photo courtesy of Robert Dillon. But we never think about the perimeter. Like a place youd go to curl up and read a book, take a nap, or have a really good conversation. Learn More{{/message}}. How? But it didnt work out the teachers were frustrated by how much the students were moving during class, Ramos said. Now this classroom was just one particular type, a kind of shabby chic, funky, yard-sale mix, but it represented something bigger, a tear in the fabric of how weve always done things. They werent just confined to their desks, forced to sit still and stare at a blank page, Ramos said.

It looked like a living room. What software should I use? Gone are the days of Bueller? Add COVID- and I am having significant issues with distancing, sanitizing etcetera and it has wrecked havoc on space design. They were writing complete paragraphs. High school classroom design needs to reflect the ways students and teachers interact now. If circle tables and DIY walls arent working for you, I would suggest you talk with your students about other ways to make the room work for you. The idea of a classroom that can be rearranged to fit the activity individual work, class discussion, group projects has faced some pushback. Educators today have issued similar warnings. One great example of repurposing what you have is Kelly Almers 5th grade classroom. Wheres the research stating this improves learning? When I ask for student feedback about what they like best about class, MANY say the ability to choose seating. Eventually theyll all get to try sitting next to each other for a period of time. Its profound how much the space matters in not only the way I teach, but in the very way I go about planning lessons. The problem is that our classes are over-populated. We keep returning to the idea discussed in the article that mobility is an asset, so if we have a collection of furniture pieces that can easily be rearranged, then every student has a chance to put forward an idea for how class should be organized. I love your ideas but my admin. One of her first steps toward giving students more seating options was to remove the legs from a few classroom desks to make them coffee-table height. We will never publish your email. How do we make everything really accessible? We understand now that students need more than facts: Among other things, they need to be able to communicate well and work together to solve problems. Is there any way to contact the teacher and ask where she got it? Find Bob Dillon on his website at or on Twitter at @ideaguy42.

Learn More{{/message}}, {{#message}}{{{message}}}{{/message}}{{^message}}It appears your submission was successful. Kids stopped raising their hands to ask for bathroom breaks, Markle said. All of that stuff just becomes visual noise, and it doesnt do anything to aid the learning., And this shouldnt happen just once: Dillon advises teachers to ask this question frequently, all year long. Please read our guidelines for more information. On a recent morning in one of those revamped rooms, Melissa Sciarretto worked with a few students on their reading at a table, while the rest of the class sat on beanbag chairs and floor cushions, clicking through a game-based math program on their laptops. I want you to go get three pieces of cardboard and summarize chapter three for me., Another consideration is where to store work in progress. The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes. Im a student at a community college, for a project we are yo create a classroom. Another tip is to use the school library. It was one example of the way flexible seating and more student-centered classroom design have taken off everywhere, with more teachers breaking away from traditional classroom layouts and finding new ways to make their rooms more conducive to 21st-century learning, where collaboration, personalization, and project-based instruction are becoming the norm. And this potential space will be totally unique at our school, so Im already planning for how the space can be used as a training area for other teachers to come in and see how we interact and use the flexible design. Id love to see examples of updated middle school science classrooms, where the space is multipurpose for both table top labs and lessons.