This week, we were set a TDT which got me excited – designing your own classroom.
As tempting as it is to get carried away, making everything pretty. The input helped me to recognise the amount of thought and preparation that goes into a classroom set up. Everything has a place, and every place is there for a reason.
While thinking about my imaginary classroom set up, I watched this YouTube video:
I really liked the horseshoe layout and the benches as this could be a great way to encourage group work. Unfortunately, I felt that the children who were sat behind the horseshoe (those who the teacher says are good at working independently) may not be able to be involved in group discussions in the same way, or else would need to move to sit on the benches or the mat. While this is manageable, it would be important to consider the needs of the children in the class.
I liked the point that this teacher made about how she considers how the classroom looks to the children. Every seat in the classroom should have a clear view of the board and should be able to hear the teacher. By sitting in the seats, it is also possible to identify any possible distractions or issues.
The TDT task stipulated that we were to plan a classroom for 28 children. I began with the horseshoe layout, but quickly identified that it is a challenge to make space for a large number of children without having some backs to you (unless you are lucky enough to have a very large classroom!) I also found that my horseshoe took up a very large portion of the room and left little space for other areas.
I then decided to design a classroom using group tables.
In both designs, I included a circle table which could be used for small group work, or could also be used if children wish to move away from a larger group and work quietly. Rather than having a traditional teachers desk, I chose a kidney table so that I could work with small groups of children.
I would also create a cosy reading area which would hopefully encourage children to engage with reading as well as being another area that could be used for group work.
When teaching whole class lessons I would move around the classroom, ensuring that all children are able to hear the teaching and instructions.
While working in nurseries, I found myself moving the room around on a semi-regular basis. I found that by moving an area from one part of the room to another, it was given a new lease of life, and the children were suddenly interested in it again. While I would not like to move my classroom around too often, making it confusing and distracting for my pupils; I would not be adverse to trying new things and would try to remain observant and open to when certain aspects of the room are not working as they should.
Another important aspect of the classroom design in the use of displays. As an avid fan of pinterest, I’ve been snooping at other classrooms and ‘pinning’ lots of lovely ideas. Within my classroom I would aim to have a balance between different kinds of displays.
I would use some space to display children’s work. I feel that having work on the walls creates a sense of ownership for the children, and also serves to raise confidence and self esteem as they can feel proud of their achievements.
I would have displays which are interactive. This means that the display has aspects which the children can engage with and can extend their learning.
I would also have displays which act as signs, for example displaying the classroom rules. I believe that it is important to have these on show so that the teacher can refer to them and reinforce them regularly. This allows the children to see that the teaching is being fair and consistent.
Finally (and if there is room) I would try to display interesting pictures or art work which may spark discussion and interest. This may be appropriate in the reading area.
When creating displays and considering my décor, I would be aware that, although I want my classroom to be attractive and inviting – large areas of bright primary colours can sometimes be overwhelming, and busy patterns can make it difficult for some children to focus. For displays with signs and important information, I would try to keep the display uncluttered and clear. I also like to use pastel colours and natural tones for backing paper where possible.
(Here is a brilliant website where you can look at a variety of different classroom set ups and layouts: The School Supply Addict)
Completing this task has helped me to recognise the importance of the classroom layout. It is now very clear that a lot of thought and reflection has gone into the set up of each class. When I return to my placement, I will be able to observe the room with new eyes, considering the use of space and also the displays and information provided for the children.