Design vs. Decoration: How I ReImagined My Classroom

A few years back, I thought: “You are insane for spending so much time reorganizing your classroom every year…spend your summer doing other things.” And so I did.

But after sharing my classroom last year and returning full time this year, I was ready to approach my classroom like a designer. I wanted to keep in mind this realization that I blogged about last fall: my classroom should reflect not just my personality and my passions, but it should also reflect my students’ thoughts, ideas, and talents. Students should feel welcome to make their mark in our classroom.

In my PLN I’ve seen posts ranting against cute and posts proudly showing off their cute (usually with some kind of Chevron pattern). I have to admit that I can be drawn to cute. I love having a space that feels put together, cohesive, efficient, open and beautiful.

I’m a sucker for good aesthetics.

So I decided to just stop worrying what others thought about my classroom and just do me. Do what made me feel happy and confident. Do what stayed true to what helps my students and what will welcome them too.

U-shaped desks for easy conversion to Socratic Seminar discussion.
U-shaped desks for easy conversion to Socratic Seminar discussion.

Here’s the big reveal! Room 142 Redesigned.

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If you want to see a live tour of the classroom, see the video below. I took it on Periscope app, so the orientation is vertical. I talk a bit more about my thinking for each area of the room.

Classroom Tour on Periscope, September 2015 from Brianna Crowley on Vimeo.

Thanks for joining me on the redesign! Thanks for being part of my PLN and giving me so many great ideas to make a beautiful and functional place to inspire learning and community!

3 thoughts on “Design vs. Decoration: How I ReImagined My Classroom

  1. Would you be willing to share your different signage? (Desk cards, build a poem, etc) I love the look of the signs you have created and would like to incorporate something similar into my classroom!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your classroom ideas. I have recently started the journey of creating a classroom that is welcoming and comfortable. I have a long way to go but it is already so rewarding to hear the comments students make when they come into my classroom and to know that they look forward to being in that environment. I mean, just to see how excited they have been to hold a cushion on their lap at their uncomfortable desk/chair made me really think about how sterile and uncomfortable most of their day is at school. Last year I brought in a couple of couches and other alternative seating options, and over the summer break (it’s summer here in Australia!) I have been collecting lamps, a round table (I hope to get more if my admin will let me replace the desks!) and other bits and pieces. I LOVE your idea of the crates for standing desks. I have a data projector on a stand that I am pestering our IT manager to put on the ceiling so I will also have a stand that I can use for a standing desk station. Just today I’ve been painting blackboard paint – my husband is helping me to replace one of my pinboards with blackboard. I priced mini-whiteboards (I have half a dozen medium sized ones for group work) but it was out of my budget to buy a class set, so I have made a set of laminated A4 cards and bought 100 whiteboard markers off eBay (hot glued pom-poms to their lids for erasing) to use for bell ringers – and then I had the idea of creating more sets with mind mapping templates (‘think-pair-share’, venn diagram templates etc.) which I will keep in some coloured baskets on one of my bookshelves. I like your ‘dead words’ corner and I think adding to this throughout the year will be very helpful for the students. Also love your idea of the picture book collection – this was a penny drop moment for me as I often traipse up to the library to borrow some picture books, don’t know why I never thought of having my own collection. (Duh!) BTW I am 50 and it is quite a challenge for me to change from ‘old school’ methods and experiment with new ways of teaching. I have gained some wonderful ideas from your post and video, which I found in your comment on ‘Classroom Eye Candy’ at the ‘Cult of Pedagogy’ site – thank you so much!

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