Exciting lesson ideas, classroom strategies, book lists, videos, and reproducibles in a daily blog by teachers

Alycia

I live in New York

I teach third grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe

Rhonda

I live in New Jersey

I teach sixth grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers

Christy

I live in New York

I teach K-5

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist

Erin

I live in Michigan

I teach second grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!

Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach PreK-K

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child

Genia

I live in Michigan

I teach third grade

I am seriously addicted to all things technology in my teaching

Kriscia

I live in California

I teach second and third grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all

Brian

I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously

Meghan

I live in Alabama

I teach first grade

I am an obsessive personality with a creative flair

Lindsey

I live in Illinois

I teach fourth grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

Designing Your Classroom Space (With Before and After Photos)

By Erin Klein on August 26, 2013
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

I've been working all summer long to redesign my learning space, creating a more inviting environment for my learners. As a former interior design major, planning an aesthetically pleasing area was important to me, as was keeping brain-friendly ideas in mind.

Due to the limited square footage in my classroom, I decided to replace the desks with a few pieces of non-traditional furniture. For example, our reading area is outfitted with rocking chairs, benches, and patio chairs, and in the back corner of the room, a breakfast nook is nestled beside a floor lamp and a large artificial tree. 

My main goal in designing my space was to create an environment where students would feel comfortable. I knew I had to provide materials that would be easily accessible and organized. Supplies are kept out in containers and baskets for the children to use as needed. Everything should be at their level. This meant lowering posters and charts. I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards.

It was important for me to select a theme that would appeal to both boys and girls as well. Since we have a garden outside of our classroom, I thought it would be a good idea to bring the garden into our room. Thus, the nature theme became my focus. Muted colors of brown, green, red, and gold started to fill the space.  

About the Design

I love shopping at Hobby Lobby for my home and classroom. I often rearrange the furniture in my home. When I do, instead of bringing the items to my basement, I'll switch them out with items in my classroom. The wall art you see above the window was a piece I had above one of my art canvas paintings in my master bathroom. Now, it sits above my classroom window. A few years ago, this metal wall art was placed above my bulletin board (click here to see). My bulletin board was designed to look like a window. I even had curtains on each side! You can find similar wall art by clicking here to connect to Hobby Lobby's site.

I also keep personal photos of my family around the room. You can see some sitting on the shelf. I add personal touches throughout the space to bring a piece of my life into the room. I even add framed photos of the students throughout the year, too. Because we are a classroom family, it's only fitting that their photos be added in frames around the room. My bulletin above the tall shelves is currently under construction. This will be the place where we post math concepts and vocabulary. However, since we haven't started a unit yet, no content is displayed. As we introduce skills, students will help to add essential information to the board.  

 

Getting the Student's Input 

When I asked my students last year how I should think about setting up my classroom for the new year, many of them expressed the importance of having areas where they could sit and relax. They really enjoyed being able to stretch out with a good book and not be confined to their desk. That's when I began brainstorming creative ways to incorporate inviting seating areas that would help to maximize the layout's working area.

Since we have a small room, it was essential to utilize each section of the space. The corner breakfast nook works perfectly to provide additional seating since it tucks right into the corner, not taking up unnecessary floor space. The bench seats also lift to provide extra storage. I keep many of our charging cords and technology accessories in these cubbies.  

I plan to use this area for groups to collaborate together and work on projects with one another. There will also be two round tables in the center of the room for children to use while working independently or with partners. We are getting 20 iPads for our grade level this year, which will be shared among four classes. So I am excited to have a comfortable area for children to connect with each other as they develop content and extend lessons on the iPads.  

About the Design

To frame this area, I added a border that I purchased a few years ago. I used tacks to hold the wall-border in place. I measured the border to be about twelve inches from the ceiling to create a more cozy corner. In effort to make this section feel more warm, like home, I added a chalkboard beside the window. I picked this up from IKEA for $14.99. This chalkboard is where I'll spotlight our date, special person of the day, and daily agenda...just like at home! You can also find this breakfast nook from Wal-Mart online for $279 — a sizable investment, but one that will last through many years of teaching.

 

Starting the Process...

It went from bad to worse. I began to second guess my decision to transform my classroom. At first, I was so overwhelmed that I didn't know where to start. After removing everything from the shelves and cabinets, I started sorting through what I would keep and what I would donate. Then I sorted the materials into piles where they would end up being placed in the room. Once everything was in organized sections, I went to IKEA and shopped around for items to define the space with purpose.  

 

Defining Each Area...

I like to set up various sections of the room to serve different purposes. This gives the students more options to work and keeps them moving. In our room, we transition a lot. I feel it's important to allow the children to have opportunities to walk around and discuss topics with their peers. One area I set up this summer was a small group meeting place.  

I hung chart paper on the wall and eliminated my bulky stand to save space. However, this also meant I could no longer utilize the nice, magnetic board that was attached to the stand. So, I picked up a $12.99 magnetic board from IKEA to hang above the chart paper. While at IKEA, I stumbled upon a hanging planter set. Instantly, I envisioned it being used for sharpened and unsharpened pencils. A few years ago, I found the tall chair at IKEA, too. It works great and doesn't take up much space!

As shown in the photo, below the chart paper hangs our pencil station. You can also see my mentor text shelf behind the chair. I have my books separated by subject: reading, writing, math, and social studies. I love having a spot for my mentor texts! I keep all of my seasonal read-alouds in the closed cabinets on top of the shelves on the right, and my curriculum materials are on the counter top. I'm really appreciating how putting items on the walls helps to save functional floor space.  

 

Organizing Books and Supplies...

 

Looking Closer at Each Photo (from left to right)

1.  I love my R E A D letters.  I picked these up at Hobby Lobby a few yeas ago to accent our classroom library. 

2.  In effort to save space, I moved out my teacher desk. I still needed to keep my filing cabinet. I thought it would make a perfect space to house my document camera and computer.  

3.  My newest find was the media DVD shelf where I store many of my chapter books. I'm currently adding more books and organizing the genres. Having the books displayed on open shelves makes it easy for me to switch out series so that the selections are always fresh and new!  

4.  The last photo shows the corner nook and the student supply area. Children keep all of their community supplies in organized areas so that their workspace stays neat and clutter free. However, having the necessary supplies in a designated and available area allows children to access any material they need in an efficient manner.  

Finding the 'just-right' piece of furniture can enhance a space so much. I'm so excited to share a few tips with you regarding simple transformations:

  • adding a decorative rug to a small area helps to identify it as it's own section

  • removing the teacher desk can offer additional space for a small room

  • a media shelf normally used for DVDs holds and displays several chapter books perfectly

  • having community supplies easily accessible can support independence 

  • bringing in incandescent lighting softens the space from harsh fluorescent lights

  • adding real plants introduces nature to the room—kids love taking care of them

  • decluttering helps students stay organized and keeps the room cleaner as they work

  • lowering print on the walls allows children to see content easier and more clearly

  • incorporating a neutral color scheme doesn't distract from content being introduced

  • keeping boys and girls in mind when designing allows all to feel comfortable

 

What are your favorite ideas and tips for setting up your classroom?  I'd love to know!

5D91F7222A5677F738405481396DEF27.png

Comments (141)

Really great post, Thank you for sharing This knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! ​บาคาร่าGenting

Great anti-aging cream. I will say thank you to give me smooth and beautiful skin. You can also try Alexa Widget

Many thanks for this brilliant post! Many points have extremely useful. Hopefully you'll continue sharing your knowledge around.
Trenbolone

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info.
relationship advice

I like this for article post information, thanks..
klinikobatkuat.com

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! autos houston

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.audi houston

I must say that overall I am really impressed with this blog.It is easy to see that you are impassioned about your writing. I wish I had got your ability to write. Such a good style of writing. best website design company in singapore

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! Hip-hop

Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. macaron mat

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
Cargo Equipment

Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign!
PSN Code Generator

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. free webhosting

This meant lowering posters and charts. I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards. http://boom-beach-astuce.fr/

Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it!
100 doors games

I also benefit from learning the assessments, but learn that alot of people ought to stay on essay to try and add worth in the direction of the authentic weblog release.
Grosir Baju wanita

Thanks very much for this great article;this is the stuff that keeps me going through out these day. formazione livorno

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job!
assistenza aziende

This meant lowering posters and charts. I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards. cyber monday mattress

C

I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards. kayfun 3.1 clone

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article. sussex parking management

I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article. brighton removals company

the children to use as needed. Everything should be at their level. This meant lowering posters and charts. I Download Nigerian Music

I simply want to tell you that I am new to weblog and definitely liked this blog site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have wonderful stories. Cheers for sharing with us your blog.
Dearborn Protocol Adapter 5

This meant lowering posters and charts. I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards. black friday bed sales

This will be the place where we post math concepts and vocabulary. However, since we haven't started a unit yet, no content is displayed. As we introduce skills, students will help to add essential information to the board.

best black friday deals

This is a very good tips especially to those new to blogosphere, brief and accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article. uganda adverts

This meant lowering posters and charts. I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards. consulenza viterbo

It was important for me to select a theme that would appeal to both boys and girls as well. Since we have a garden outside of our classroom, I thought it would be a good idea to bring the garden into our room. Thus, the nature theme became my focus. Muted colors of brown, green, red, and gold started to fill the space arxaia gimnasiou

By asking the customer you recommend a business, you have been led to word of mouth advertising without actually asking them to refer to specific friends. It is more acceptable in a business that requires large amounts of customers.
enkei wheels

parents who might be up for a daytime group. i can host a few people and the toddlers could play or do an art activity or something while we discuss. hvac repair

baskets for the children to use as needed. Everything should be at their level. This meant lowering posters and charts. I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards. income tax returns

I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards. work at home

I also wanted to keep the colors calming in an effort not to distract from the content that would soon be posted on the interactive white board, walls, and bulletin boards. Tattoo social network

You have raised an important issue..Thanks for sharing..I would like to read more current affairs from this blog..keep posting..
terna viterbo

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working, great job!
formazione amministrativa grosseto

While on a quest for housing sites, I stumbled upon a Real Estate market news Internet site,Westside Los Angeles County Housing Market Forecast. I discovered this post, From Squatting to Renting: Another Solution to Stabilize Housing. This blog post is insightful.The news reporting and analysis on this site is of very high quality, the news coverage and cartoons are great, and the many user guides are extremely valuable. I recommend visiting this website to survey its many features.

Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it!
Locksmith

Wow! What an eye opener this post has been for me. Very much appreciated, bookmarked, I can’t wait for more!
analisi di laboratorio roma

Thanks for sharing your ideas on designing the classroom. This information will be helpful as one day I plan to teach, and I would love my classroom to be inviting not scary. Thanks again.

Erin, this looks amazing!!! I have been working hard at getting my classroom to look warmer and more inviting, but I bow to your superior expertise ;)

http://www.gamifymyclass.blogspot.ca

I ma so impressed about the details on the topic and hope to apply it and will get back asap.

Publicity and credibility is worth tens of millions in free advertising. Patient only, you may not immediately win the award, but sooner or later you will definitely get it.
rohana wheels

Hi Beartrice,

Thanks!

Erin

I believe in setting a stimulating environment that attracts attention of visitors as well as enhancing children learning. Whatever the learning environment and including our personal appearance its all sets out role model and that all falls into learning. I totally agree with some positive comments from others. Thank you so much for the ever encouraging set up

Cheers

Rose

Hi Rose,

Your comment is so sweet and well-written. I really appreciate your feedback. I hope you're having a wonderful year.

Thank you,

Erin

I love looking at pictures of your room, Erin! Thanks so much for all the great tips. Decluttering is a definite goal of mine this year, and I am bringing real plants back for the first time in a few years with a goal of keeping them alive past October. Have a wonderful start to your school year! ~Genia

Hi Genia,

You're the best!! Thanks so much for your feedback. I'd love to see photos of your room. I totally understand the goal of keeping the plants alive. I do not have a green thumb at all. :)

Warmly,

Erin

I was a Montessori teacher for 17 years and now i am in a special ed classroom in the public schools. I took the focus on enviromental design in the Montessori class with me . The concept of quiet colors which accent the learning materials has always stuck with me .. I love your room and the energy it takes to make it happen. You have reminded me of the need to provide students with a calm environment and clutter free. I will work on more this year to bring that back. Thanks, Monica

Post a Comment
(Please sign in to leave a comment. Privacy Policy)
Back to Top