Hey, teachers. I know it is still summer but I also know that some of you are gearing up for back-to-school. I bet you are already thinking about classroom furniture and how you will design your room. Before you begin gathering photos and watching videos on amazing classroom decor, read this blog post to learn how to create a classroom setup that will create a safe place conducive to learning!
Something I do every year is plan out how I want my classroom to be set up. I think this is such an important step as a teacher. When you take the time to draw out your classroom, it shows that you are thinking about how your students will learn best. It also shows that you are organizing your room and thoughts before the kiddos even enter. Let me show you how I draw out my classroom every year to set my students up for success!
First off, you will want to plan out the furniture items needed in your classroom. Please note that I said needed. We are not focused on your wants until you have what is truly needed to help your students learn. Before creating your plan, identify non-removable items like plugs, built-in cabinets, and Ethernet cords. There will be certain areas in your room where particular items will need to be placed.
Here are several ways that I have set up my classroom in the past. When setting up my room, I always want to think about where I will teach my whole group lesson and where I will pull students. This is not something I want to leave for chance and decide in the middle of the year. #STRESSFUL! I also need to locate where my computers will need to be placed and where I want my students to read independently. You may not care for something like reading spots in your classroom, but you may want a space for students to work independently or in groups.
Tables & Desks
When designing your classroom setup, you will want to consider whether or not you will use tables versus desks. I have used both and have my likes and dislikes. If you prefer tables, then you may have to forego the storage that is embedded within a desk. If you prefer to use desks, then you are taking up more floor space. Also, you will need to talk with your administrator to see what is housed on your campus and if changing out desks for tables is even an option.
I hate teacher desks! I throw mine out every year. You can even see from my examples above that the teacher desk is left out of certain examples. They are big and bulky. Plus it feels similar to the junk drawer at my house. This year I bought these bed risers on a Facebook group to lift my desk to the same size as another piece of furniture in my room. Then I locked all the drawers to keep from placing junk in them. These bed risers enabled me to stand up while teaching or use the desktop as a work space.
Flexible Seating vs. Chairs
I love flexible seating. Love it! But I am still a firm believer that classrooms should utilize chairs at least at the beginning of the year. I have seen teachers utilize no other seating options other than flexible seating. I disagree with this strategy. I feel like kids still need to be taught how to sit in a chair. There are procedures that need to be taught with classroom seating. Plus you need to remember as a teacher that your primary goal is to help your students succeed in life. One way to help in this endeavor is to model for students how to sit in a chair correctly so that when they go to interview for a job, they know how to look and act like a professional. When using chairs, you need to plan on the fact that when students push their chair out, this will take up space within the classroom. I have also seen teachers utilize stools that helps to save a tremendous amount of space.
Good lighting is very important in a classroom. In another blog post, I will tell you how people have given me lamps for free or at a reduced price. I often leave my lights turned off if the sun is shining. When I turn off my lights and turn on relaxing piano music, I can focus and work to my full potential. Our children are the same. With the noise and chaos that some of these children face when they go home, your students will thrive in a more calm environment. Think of dark places in your classroom where good lighting would be beneficial. Again, check with your administration before you plan out your lighting situation. I was told one year to use LED lights and that Christmas lights could not be used within the classroom. Oh, and you may be asked to plug extra amenities like light fixtures into a power surge.
A key component you always need to consider when setting up your classroom is safety. Make sure that you never block an exit or a window. A window might be needed if students cannot exit through a doorway. Students need a clear and direct path to come in and out of the classroom door. Every year I create a way for my students to line up using tape or carpet spots facing the door. Map out those exits and keep them cleared when drawing out your classroom setup.
I once read that you tend to set up your classroom according to your personality. After observing various classrooms over the years, I believe this to be true! I am an extrovert at heart and love to keep my door open. I never mind when people leave or enter my room. I also thrive on organization and dislike clutter. Too much furniture makes me anxious. I like it when furniture items are utilized. I am not really into cutesy unless cutesy has a purpose. I mostly like for my room to be quiet. That is why you will notice that my independent seating arrangements are moved throughout the room. I have learned that kids are quieter when there is distance between them. You need to find what works for you! I once created a classroom setup and changed it two weeks later. You and your students will be the ones living in this room for the next 9 months (or year). So, take the time to plan out an amazing classroom setup and feel free to share it with me.
Now it’s your turn!
Using the template below, create a list of items that you would like to add to enhance your classroom setting. This could be lamps, small tables, flexible seating items, etc. Use my examples as needed to help you think of all furniture needed in a classroom.