Monday, July 12, 2010

Classroom Space Design

Last year I had a wonderful opportunity to depart from classroom teaching and become a Technology Support Teacher for my district.  The job was to assist teachers in technology professional development, assist teachers in infusing technology into the classroom, come into classrooms and lead or co-teach instruction using technology and to do some minor "troubleshooting".  I had a great year, but I missed the daily interaction with the kids tremendously so I am heading back into the classroom!

So this summer I have spent a great deal of time pondering the set up of my classroom.  I have actually gone into my new classroom and just sat on a chair in the middle of the room thinking.  Admittedly, I have also snuck into other teacher's classrooms whom I admire for some inspiration.   I am really struggling with what I want the layout of the space to be.

There are certain spaces I want in my classroom.  For example, I have 4 student computers so there will be a space for those to be grouped together.  I will have a SmartBoard next year so a space will need to be carved out for interaction with it.  The rocking chair my mother rocked me in as a baby will need a space to.

I want my classroom to flow seamlessly and to have a logical, practical layout.  I want it to be "user friendly" with student items down low so they can reach them (they are only in first grade so they are small!).  I want my students to feel as if they have space and are not crowded on top of each other.

There is a book I have been wanting to read titled The Third Teacher which addresses the link between school environment and student learning.  I do feel strongly that there is a correlation between the two.  A few teachers have read this and have talked to me about how it is impacting the way they are designing the layout of their classroom for the upcoming school year.

How is your classroom designed?  Are there certain spaces you have in your classroom that you would recommend?


  1. I LOVE The Third Teacher and am using what I learned to think about the library space. Love thinking about designing for a new school year:-)

  2. Enjoying the new blog look! So fun.

  3. I haven't read The Third Teacher but have heard rave reviews about it. I try to plan the spaces that are important to me first - group meeting space, work areas and sitting areas for kids, computer area, bookshelves, etc. Then I try to work my students' desks around that.

  4. I have to add this book to my reading list. Having a new classroom to design is always so fun (and sometimes challenging). It can take a few attempts to get an arrangement that provides places to learn, allows traffic to move, and accommodates all learners/activities. Thank you for reminding me I need to think about technology in my arrangement. Being a literacy geek I always think books and reading/writing nooks first.

    Last year I had my computers in the corner which was great for day to day activity. However, every time I brought lap carts into the room it was terrible. I could hardly get them out to distribute them. The room felt crowded. With much greater tech goals for next year, I'm going to have to think about this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. (Hopefully the 3rd time is a charm and you are reading this comment.)

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  6. Designing our classroom is one of my favorite things! I always start with an open space in the center of my room for our meeting area! This can be a challenge but I hold to it, the center of the room is the heart of our new learning. The area around the center is full of nooks for reading and wriitng, leaving a cramped space for tech... this year I will be thinking about techie nooks too..

  7. After ten years as a Reading Specialist I am getting ready for my second year in a first grade classroom. I struggled all last year with an awkwardly shaped room, making room for some furniture I didn't need (like a teacher desk) and lacking some furniture I desperately wanted (like a picture book display.) I also struggle with an unusable corner, thanks to the poor design of the school's roof which causes leaks to plague that corner. Thankfully I have several great teammates who are always willing to put their furniture rearranging skills to good use as "consultants" in my classroom. I'm always looking for new ideas and input and find I'm not afraid to make changes to room arrangement as often as I feel the urge. Thanks for being another great resource.