Designing Classrooms of the Future Now!, pp. 7 of 11

Design Idea #5: Collaborate and Innovate

Interviewer: I understand you both submitted a proposal to team teach your 4th grade classes. How did this change the look of your classrooms?

Alice: Making the classroom visually pleasing helps learners and teachers feel comfortable. This brings about feelings of safety and we all know we learn at our best when we have no other “issues” to worry about. This means we have various forms of lighting, including many lamps that are beautiful pottery, pieces of art in themselves, fun and meaningful artifacts, and various carpets. We worked to provide spaces where all 44 students could gather comfortably in each room and where all 44 students are provided a table space when needed. We’ve scoured our local Salvation Army for deals and found children’s office chairs, round tables, higher tables to stand at when working and we kept some student desks in the rooms too. We would have liked to take down or modify the wall between our two rooms, but it works out very well to always have our adjoining door open.

Rindi: To add on to Alice’s comments, we have also tried our best to expand our learning spaces to include the hallway outside of our adjoining classrooms with various tables and desk and chair arrangements, where students can meet in partnerships, small groups or even work alone. We intend to use our students’ ideas to help further transform these areas, and others, into kid-friendly work areas beyond the walls of our classrooms.

Design Idea #6: Build Nests

Interviewer: This student looks very comfortable. Do you think this helps her to focus better on her reading?

Alice: Absolutely, comfort helps her focus; some students prefer to be more upright, others lie on their bellies! I even have a couple of students who choose to go into our hallway to read because the air-conditioning feels too cold to them.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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