My latest post for Fusion, “The 7 E’s of Classroom Design,” has just been posted. I was really inspired while I researched that particular article, and knew I needed to step it up in my own classroom. I’m still working on it, but I thought I would show you a few changes I’ve made this year.
Right now I’m working on 2 of the E’s, “Equable and Empathetic Classroom Design.” With the trend toward flexible seating options for students, I started hunting for some alternatives to the hard plastic chairs in my classroom. I also aimed for a 3rd E, “Economical,” because, well, I’m a teacher…
I found a $19 rug at Walmart, as well as some $10 end tables and a $20 coffee table. The coffee table and rug serve as a sit-on-the-floor area for the kids.
Some of my favorite scores were storage ottomans. Big Lots had some ottoman benches for $30 that I purchased, and I found a set of 3 cube ottomans on Wayfair for $50.
I visited Goodwill 3 times, and have been scouring Craigslist every night for some other wish list items (like a faux leather futon). So far, that hasn’t been successful, but I’m not giving up.
I went way out of budget (okay, I’m lying – I didn’t really give myself a budget) with the bar stools, but the pair was on sale for $120. I tried to make up for that splurge by making my own “bistro” table. I used a tall set of plastic storage drawers and a piece of drywall we used last year for Sphero painting. I taped duct tape on the drywall to class it up (maybe that’s not your definition of classy, but it looks better than the drywall ), and then taped a laminated mandala on the top for the kids to decorate. To make the front look more “table-y” I velcroed two of my $10 end tables together. We can still access the drawers on the back when needed, but I put stuff-we-don’t-use-too-often in there.
In the corner, I put the huge executive desk I inherited when I first moved into the classroom, which has a pretty handy glass overlay that was perfect for the new world map I placed underneath.
Since I teach pull-out gifted and talented classes, most of my groups are not very large. But I was teaching a 5th grade enrichment class last week to a full crowd, and let them test out the new seating area after we went over some expectations (such as, “don’t twirl around in the bar stools even though that’s a very fun thing to do and we all know that it’s extremely tempting).
The students did great. No one fought over seating and they immediately got to work on their projects. It was pretty amazing to watch.
As I mentioned, the makeover is not finished. I still have a few more E’s to cover. The students will be helping me with some of those, so I’ll post those pics as we complete more of the project.