Looking for ways to spice up your classroom? Bored of what you have? Try these 5 easy ideas on how to redesign your classroom.
1. Use What You Have
Your room already has a lot of great furniture. To change things up, try configuring your desks in a new way. Perhaps every month you draw a student’s name, and they get to choose how the desks are organized. Cluster desks together to promote collaboration and communication. Get creative with your seating plans. Try using cards to determine where students sit, or try numbering them off.
A fun way to create a seating plan is to match it to what you are learning about. For example, if you are studying wetlands, give each student a card with an animal from various species (bugs, birds, plants, fish etc). All the fish have to sit together, and all the plants have to sit together. Or if you are studying the Haudenosaunee, have the female students (Clan Mothers) choose the male students (hoyenah/chiefs). Then the hoyenah will select the seating plan, but the Clan Mothers have the power to remove a hoyenah if they disagree with his decision.
2. Get It Cheap
If you are wanting to try new types of furniture in you classroom, hunt for sales! Look at garage sales, Facebook Buy and Sell groups, Kijiji or similar online platforms, or sales at stores. Hit up a neighbour or your mom’s basement for old furniture they don’t use.
Try using an old kitchen table in your room to promote collaboration. Try yoga mats as a means for kids to stretch out while working on the floor. Add a cute bistro set (one that you bought at an end-of-summer sale) for a different seating option. Lap desks are a great way to support kids who don’t want to work at a traditional desk, but still need a hard surface.
Make sure any furniture that you do bring in:
- Fits the student
- Is comfortable
- Addresses multiple learning styles
- Does not create safety hazards
3. Change Up Your Lighting
Research shows that fluorescent lighting isn’t the best for our students. What can you do to change it?
- Bring in natural light! Open those curtains/shades
- Soften the light by adding floor lamps, desk lamps, or twinkle lights.
- (remember your mom’s basement you found that funky chair in? Grab those old Christmas lights too!)
- Try having your classroom lights off for a portion of the day to give students a break
4. Bring in Nature
Not only can you bring in nature by allowing natural light to flourish, don’t be afraid to bring in plants as well. Plants bring a sense of life and colour to your classroom. They also allow some kids to become caretakers, and build essential skills. Some plants that are easy to take care of in your classroom:
- Snake plant
- Chinese evergreen
- ZZ plant
- Aloe vera
If you have windows that open, open them up and allow fresh air into your learning space. Or, bring the kids to the outside! Take your kids outside to learn instead of staying inside your classroom. For example, instead of reading in your room or the library, read outside on the grass.
5. Keep It Simple
Keep your classroom redesign simple. Choose 3 or 5 key colours, and focus on bringing those colours into your room. Only hang things on your walls that are essential for your students to learn. When you are placing things on your walls, place them above student eye level so they aren’t too distracting. You may have to teach kids how to use the new space effectively. Allow them to learn and try to find what is best for them.
At the end of the day, your classroom should foster a safe, welcoming, and caring community.