“Design your own classroom…” YES!!!

As part of our Tutor Directed task for classroom organisation and management, we were asked to design our own classroom.  I was thrilled at the prospect of this. As a young child, and even way into high school, I’d always be excited when walking into a classroom and seeing the tables had been moved around. It just changed the whole environment of the classroom, and even better – you normally got to work with new people!

Here is a floorplan of how I would plan my own classroom – as a teacher.Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 14.44.33

This classroom would suit a class size of 28 pupils. For this specific TDT, the class includes 22 boys and 6 girls. There would be 2 girls at each outside table in the row of 4, and one girl at each outside table in the row of 3. This will allow the girls the opportunity to learn to work with the opposite sex, enhancing both their personal and social development. I would not keep them in these seats for every lesson; I would occasionally change the seating plan in maths and language lessons based on ability.

I decided to plan my classroom in this way as it is tidy, organised and safe. There is adequate room to move around between desks and a clear route to the door in case of an emergency. –  3.2.1 Create a safe, caring and purposeful learning environment (GTCS, 2012).

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Area on floor for discussion

This set up makes good use of space. There is an opportunity for whole class lessons to be taught with every child seated at their table, but also space on the floor in front of the Smartboard and whiteboard for more informal  group discussion. The smartboard perhaps for small groups and the Whiteboard for larger groups due Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 19.57.08to the arrangement of furniture. The table in the corner could be used to consolidate with groups of students who need further support before doing a task, or to send pupils off to work together.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.06.28I have included an interactive maths area in my floor plan. I saw this when out on placement and thought it was a great idea. Not only does it promote independent learning, it is a fun and engaging way to get children to go off on their own or with a partner to work on their mental maths. It is also a useful area to send pupils to when they finish their work quicker than expected/their peers.

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“L” Shaped desk – facing the class.

I have placed the teachers desk in the corner facing the class. It is an “L” shape, so she can work effectively whilst still keeping an eye on her class. There is no point working away with your back to a class of pupils – as you will not be effectively observing them working. I feel a desk at the front and centre of the classroom brings in the temptation for a teacher to sit down and teach. Which yes, may be ok on some occasions – but not all of the time.

My classroom would be very bright and open, with a large window behind the teacher’s desk on the West facing wall. This will bring in opportunities for linking to Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.21.21the pupils outdoor learning experiences when they perhaps cannot venture outside.

My classroom resources will be well organised. Down the left-hand side of my classroom, I have plotted where I would have storage facilities for jotters, pencils, paper and miscellaneous resources. This area will be labelled and kept as organised as possible, so pupils and their teacher know where to find the resources they need.

I have included a “reading corner”/library into my classroom plan. I believe by including a libraryScreen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.28.20 into the classroom, you are highlighting the importance of literacy and reading in their everyday lives. I really like the idea of themed libraries in classrooms. Especially when linked to entertainment. I feel young children should learn to read as a form of entertainment. There are some good examples on Pinterest – click here for my favourite.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.42.49I have incorporated digital technologies to support teaching and learning by including an interactive smartboard, and computers in the corner of the room. They are very useful in bringing all of the pupils learning needs together. Visual learners are benefitted, but so are tactful learners as they can physically interact with the smartboard to learn. They are perfect when incorporating video’s, music and powerpoints in the classroom and do not create any mess! They also have the added bonus of facilitating games, which can always be used as a Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 20.43.23class reward for good work or behaviour! The computers in the classroom can be used for those faster workers to type up their finished work. But they are also great for those pupils who struggle to put a pencil to paper.  In my classroom the screens are facing the rest of the class – so pupils cannot procrastinate on fun games websites – they have to do what they are supposed to do!

chairsIn regards to health and safety regulations in the classroom, I would ensure the floor is carpeted and in good condition with no corners upturned to prevent trips. All shelves and tray cabinets will be on wheels to prevent injuries linked to manual handling. I would also have non-swinging chairs as kids swinging on chairs is possibly one of the most dangerous things in a classroom!!

The standards also state that an effective use of display should be present. I will have displays of children’s work as well as informative signs. However, I do not want the displays on the wall to be up just for the sake of it; I want them to be interactive to benefit the pupils learning. This could mean incorporating books children can engage with, or add a whiteboard section to reflect on what Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 21.02.34they’ve learnt.

Finally, I will put reward systems on the door. Similarly to my class on placement, I will add a helping-hands-bg“house points” chart on the back of the door. Each child will belong to a “house” and when they get a point, it goes against their name but added to their house total. This way children can regularly keep track on how many points they’ve learnt, and see how they are helping support their house, as you would with a team. There will also be a “helping hands” display – where each hand is a different job (such as a milk monitor or door holder) which children will be matched to with jobs changing weekly.

I feel comfortable now after completing this task that I know reasons behind certain areas in the classroom. I’m more informed now of common classroom set-ups, along with their pro’s and con’s. As a student, the prospect of changing up a classroom really excites me, but I do realise it is important not to change it too often, and that certain pupils may be sat in specific seats for various reasons. This classroom is similar to the one I will be working in on placement in the respects that it has a whiteboard, library and interactive maths area. However, due to the class size on placement being considerably larger, there are no separate tables for group discussions due to an unfortunate lack of space. I am looking forward to developing an understanding of exactly why the classroom is set out in the way that it is during my professional practice.

Here is a link to some really interesting classrooms I found on Pinterest: CLICK HERE.

 

– The General Teaching Council for Scotland (2012) The standards for registration: Mandatory requirements for registration with the general teaching council for Scotland. Available at: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/the-standards/standards-for-registration-1212.pdf (Accessed: 9 February 2016).

12 thoughts on ““Design your own classroom…” YES!!!

  1. Yasmin Da Prato

    This is such an informative post with many great ideas. I loved the suggestion of having a designated group work area allowing collaboration to be at the forefront of the classroom ethos. This idea of having an interactive display, specifically house points related, will motivate the pupils and give the classroom colour and energy. Really enjoyed this post. Thank you. #uwsba13one

    Reply
    1. Lauren DuncanLauren Duncan Post author

      Thank you so much for your comment, Yasmin! I definitely feel collaboration and teamwork should be encouraged in the classroom. I’m glad you enjoyed this post.
      Thanks again 🙂

      Reply
  2. Emma Kerr

    This is a very informative post with great ideas. I love the idea about an interactive wall display! Thanks! #uwsba13one

    Reply
  3. Sarah Lindsay

    Lauren,

    I found this post very useful and informative. I especially liked how you incorporated the GTCS. Thanks for including the Pinterest link. Some very interesting ideas there! #uwsba13two

    Reply
    1. Lauren DuncanLauren Duncan Post author

      Hi, Sarah. Thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad you found my linking to the GTCS and Pinterest useful!

      Reply
  4. H Macleod

    I found this post very interesting and you’ve shared a lot of great ideas. It all seems very well organised and I love the idea of the interactive maths area. Providing an area for the children to engage with maths independantly is a great idea. I also think the idea of house points is great to motivate children to do well. I like the idea of having all the children’s roles visible with the ‘helping hands display’. I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks. #uwsba13three

    Reply
    1. Lauren DuncanLauren Duncan Post author

      Hello. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Glad you liked the things I incorporated into the classroom. Thank you!

      Reply
  5. Claire McGahon

    I found this post very interesting, as when I was younger I used to love the classroom changes the teacher would make over school holidays. I always used to dream of having my own classroom and setting the tables out effectively so children could work together and still see the board. I love the classroom set up you have displayed in this post and from reading your explanations I agree with the positioning of all furniture and resources. I would like to use this set up approach in the future as I think it would work effectively. Thanks you! #uwsba13one

    Reply
    1. Lauren DuncanLauren Duncan Post author

      Hello, Claire. I’m glad you found my post interesting! Could not relate to you more, the prospect of change as a child was so exciting to me. Thank you so much for your comment! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Laura Fairbairn

    This post was extremely helpful and made me consider things about planning a classroom that I had not thought of before. I liked the idea of mixing the girls with the boys to enhance social abilities. I liked the information provided about the considerations of health and safety and thinking of the movement about the classroom. Also taking into considerations of changing the layout of the classroom every so often the change the environment a little. Also having different groups for different subjects to allow for different social interactions.
    #uwsba13two

    Reply
    1. Lauren DuncanLauren Duncan Post author

      Hello, Laura. I’m glad you liked this post and it sparked some thoughts about planning the classroom. Thank you for your comment! 🙂

      Reply

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