When I look at my classroom, I see so much potential of what could be done with the space. When I began redesigning, I asked myself a lot of questions. What’s my teaching philosophy? What technology do I want to integrate into my classroom? How can I allow for collaboration and still teach up front when needed? How do I allow for students to work individually? After pondering these questions, I thought about how we learned about the maker movement and remixing. As my school is reopening this year as a magnet school with a focus on STEM and manufacturing, I took this and what I’ve learned about creativity into consideration. I wanted to create a space that mirrored a makerspace and allowed students to collaborate, research and be inspired while they work.
When you first look into the room, there are five circular desks. Each desk has four chairs. Students who sit here can work collaboratively with their peers. In my design, there are round tables. I prefer two rectangular whiteboard tables, with wheels, pushed together. These would be easier to rearrange the room, such as on test days or depending on the activity. It would be easier to talk to each other and share ideas with each other than with individual desks with attached chairs. This set up would also be easier for me to maneuver around the room to assist students.
The side wall has two long windows to let in natural sunlight. There is a ledge with seats looking out the windows. I decided it would be a good idea to have seats looking out the window to give students not only a view outside, but also to give them that coffee shop feel where they can work individually and privately.
Next you will see the desk with the computers. Instead of struggling to get the laptop cart or my students to a computer lab, I wanted there to be a space where students had computer access. Students can use them if they are done with the lesson and play math games, look up math related videos if they need more explanation, access a digital copy of class notes, work on class projects, or research colleges and careers.
In the front of the room, there is a white board that stretches from wall to wall. I also have added a SMART board since this is technology I would love to integrate into my classroom. This will allow me to screencast my class notes as I give them and upload them to Google Classroom for students who were absent.
The floor is carpet rather than tile. It is quieter when walking on. It also has a more welcoming feel to it than a cold, hard tile floor. The walls are a warm color that isn’t too bright or overwhelming. According to a 2013 study published by Barrett, Zhang, Moffat & Kobbacy, warm colors promote learning in older students (p. 688).
Redesigning my classroom in this way will allow for flexibility as discussed in universal design for learning (UDL). Flexible seating will allow for students to work in a space where they can do their best thinking. Each space of the room could be setup for a different station that allows students to explore various aspects of a lesson through different lenses. Each station could allow a student to learn according to their multiple intelligence profile. Doing this will also give students the opportunity to learn outside of their multiple intelligence profile, which could broaden their horizon.
In class we have discussed about allowing students to make, create, and play as a part of the creative learning process. My students would be able to have a similar experience that I had during my MAET classes. While making, creating, and playing, my classmates and I sat at the same table around each other where we could collaborate as we learned. Instead of me being at the front of the room all of the time, I want my students to be at the front, taking ownership of their learning.
As part of taking ownership, I would also get student input on what they need out of the space to meet their learning needs. My classroom is a space that is solely for my students. It is their place to learn, their community amongst their peers, their safe haven, and hopefully a home away from home.
Barrett, P., Zhang, Y., Moffat, J., & Kobbacy, K. (2013). A holistic, multi-level analysis identifying the impact of classroom design on on pupils’ learning. Building and Environment, 59, 678-689. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2012.09.016