Practical Application: Developing Effective Classroom Design

Instructor: Tara Schofield
Your classroom layout is an important key to your students' success. But have you thought through all of the factors that need to be considered? Use these checklists to help be better prepared for your school year.

Classroom Design

Creating a functional, comfortable classroom takes thought and consideration. Depending on the age you teach, you will need to think through different needs and situations. Refer to the lesson How To Develop an Effective Classroom Design for helpful suggestions. Additionally, use the checklist below for your appropriate age group to evaluate the needs of your classroom.

Scenario 1 - Elementary Classroom

Teaching young children requires extra emphasis on classroom design. Because students are learning self-reliance and responsibility, they may not immediately tell you their needs. Putting extra thought into how your classroom will function and how it is laid out will help ease anxieties and fears for your students. Here are some key questions to consider:

Check If Addressed Question
Is there a space for collaboration?
Where will the students work independently?
What space will be established for whole group work?
How will technology be integrated into the classroom space?
Is a space allotted for center work?
What furniture and storage space is needed?
How will the students maneuver through the classroom? Are there ample open spaces?
Where will students put their belongings, i.e. coats, backpacks, supplies, etc?
How will desks be arranged to provide for student needs and best learning arrangements?
How will you make your classroom warm and comfortable for the students?

For example, making a warm and comfortable classroom could involve brightening some parts of the space with fresh paint, live plants, using soft light in some areas, or adding carpet or rugs.

Scenario 2 - Middle School Classroom

To prepare for your middle school students, there are several factors that you can consider in designing your classroom:

Check If Addressed Question
Will students need space for group work or collaboration? Where will this space be?
How can you create adequate space for each student without feeling cramped or confined?
How will technology be integrated into the classroom space?
Is a space allotted for supplies, projects, and equipment?
How will desks be arranged to provide for student needs and allow students to focus on their work?
What furniture and storage space is needed?
How will the students maneuver through the classroom? Are there ample open spaces?
Where will students put their belongings, i.e. coats, backpacks, supplies, etc?
How can you keep your classroom quiet and organized to keep students on task?

For example, a collaborative space probably does NOT include lines of desks. Perhaps small U-shapes, arrangements of four desks facing each other. Prepare to rearrange them based on need or appropriateness. Remember also to consider any children with special needs - will a wheelchair bound child be able to navigate the room with ease?

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