If you’re ready for some fresh energy in your classroom, a redesign process is probably front and center in your mind. Pinterest boards take over your free time and you are always scanning new spaces in your community for ideas.
With the huge shift in the way classrooms facilitate learning, many teachers are ready to make their classroom fit their new styles of instruction. It can feel overwhelming though, as you stand at your classroom door observing the mountain of work in front of you.
Here are a few tricks to help you along in the process of redesigning your classroom with a minimum of stress and a maximum of inspiration.
1. Assess your curriculum changes and learning goals.
First, you’ll need to determine what you really need from your classroom. Are the long rows of desks getting in the way of creating a flexible learning space or hands-on lab area? Do you wish you could create more informal learning spaces? Determine what exactly it is you want to increase in your classroom and what specifically you’d like to decrease.
You’ll need to have a very clear path for your changing teaching style, down to the nitty-gritty. There’s no point in spending money on a classroom redesign if you don’t yet have super clear goals. Spend some time developing clarity before moving on to the design part of the process.
2. Involve your students.
Once you know what you need out of a new classroom, start finding out what your students want. Really get their creative mental process flowing, including using storyboards, drawings, and other visual projects to help them express their innovative ideas. They’ll see and understand things that you might never even dream up or notice.
Run your own ideas past them to find out if they like your plans or if they can improve upon it. Get them involved in the materials collection process through asking for parents to donate supplies and by asking them to help ask for donations and discounts from local stores. Businesses love to help with facilitating children’s education.
3. Organize, organize, organize.
Determine the specific supplies that you’ll need for the redesign and decide who will be in charge of making their part of the project happen. Create a spreadsheet of all the details, if it will help you stay organized. Make sure every person knows their responsibility and get them on board with the details they’ll need to make it happen.
4. Declutter and reuse.
A redesign can’t happen if the room is full of junk. Go through the whole room and take out what you don’t want anymore. Decide how you want to reorganize supplies and determine if you can repurpose items that you already have on hand. Get ideas from places like Pinterest and get creative! A well-organized and decluttered classroom will make your redesign work well.
5. Keep calm.
Make sure to gather support, to put together the right supplies, and to take on the project at the right time. Don’t let the project overly frustrate you and find ways to de-stress when you need it. Be willing to delegate and let students and parents help. Find ways to step away from the project when you need to, and be willing to ask for help so that it’s completed in a timely manner. Soon enough you and your students will be enjoying a new, redesigned room and an upgraded classroom experience!
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