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11 Creative Classroom Ideas

In this blog guide we look at 11 Creative Classroom Ideas to help you get the most out of your classroom and retain student’s attention.

Redesigning the classroom can have a positive impact on a child’s academic achievements and overall happiness in school. By following some of these ideas you will no doubt help boost their learning and concentration levels. Some of these ideas are also simple, free and fun to implement! 

Let us begin..

Changing the layout

We often change the furniture around at home to suit our living environment so there is no reason why classrooms should be any different. A study conducted by the University of Salford found that improving classroom design and changing the layout can boost a pupil’s performance by up to 25 per cent. Simple changes to design and layout can have a huge impact on a pupil’s performance conduct and academic achievement.

For example, relocating the teacher to the ‘long’ wall of the classroom shortens lines of communication, enabling a more collaborative approach to learning and improving room management.

11 Creative Classroom Design Ideas Office Reality Classroom layout

Use technology

Technology is a great way of keeping your lessons interesting. We all know how much children love electronics and technology so why not try to introduce some ‘tech’ into your overall teaching strategy. Instead of standing in front of the room lecturing, why not make it more inclusive by utilising an interactive smart board? Additionally, you can feed imaginations by connecting to a classroom in another city or country, via video conferencing. By introducing technology into the classroom, you will no doubt see interest and stimulation levels increase tenfold.

Technology can improve learning

Colour Palette

Traditionally, schools tend to favour bright and bold colours which usually stimulate the brain and energise pupils, ideal for learning environments. However, bright colours can also make people feel a little anxious so may be counterproductive when trying to create an ideal learning environment. The University of Salford’s Clever Classrooms study found that simple, white environments tend to be under-stimulating, leading to restlessness and lack of concentration with bright colour areas rated as poor. The study suggests combining light neutral walls with a feature wall in a brighter colour. Flashes of colour on floors, desks and chairs can also create an atmosphere that is calm but stimulating. 

Colour Palette in the classroom

Acoustics

The impact of poor acoustics in classrooms and schools can make it hard for teachers and pupils to communicate and be heard clearly. This can have a negative effect on learning and the pupil’s wellbeing.

Acoustics can help improve learning in the classroom

Clear the desks!

They say, ‘a tidy desk is a sign of a tidy mind’ and a tidy clear mind is certainly best for learning and absorbing new information. So, to help pupils achieve a clutter free workspace a few simple changes can be made. Storage cabinets, school trays or cubbies can be introduced to hold scissors, crayons, pencils, paper, glue, and markers. We supply a wide range of storage products on our other educational website Edu-quip, including Gratnell storage trolleys

Bookcases can also be useful for storing and refereeing to books and name labels can be added to the spines of the books making them easy to find. 

All these storage solutions can help keep desks clean and tidy, allowing for uninterrupted learning and improved concentration.

And clear the classroom! 

One of the easiest and least expensive options to improve the classroom design is to take things out, ‘subtract the clutter’ that is no longer needed or required for learning purposes.

One of the easiest and least expensive options to improve the classroom design is to take things out, ‘subtract the clutter’ that is no longer needed or required for learning purposes.  

An expert about transforming educational spaces is a former school principal, Bob Dillon. He has done a lot of work on transforming learning spaces, and most recently he co- authored a book on this topic with designer and educator Rebecca Hare. The book is called The Space: A Guide for Educators.

Dillon advises teachers to take things out on a trial basis. ‘I tell teachers to take 10 – 15 things that are no longer serving a purpose for a couple of weeks, then you can really make a decision on whether you need them or not.’

Dillon continues: ‘In almost every case, the stuff never makes it back to the room. ‘I have teachers over and over say ‘As soon as I was able to free my classroom of some space, I was able to see what was possible.’

Create collaborative spaces

Traditionally, classroom layouts resembled rows and rows of desking, with a teacher at the front holding the class. This layout is still in use today in many classrooms and is the preferred layout for lecture style lessons.

However, collaboration is now recognized as a skill students need to master and thrive in todays world and some classrooms have not caught up with adapting their classrooms for collaborative learning.

A truly collaborative learning space encourages students to gather in groups, large and small to solve problems, work on a project, or have a meaningful discussion.

Collaboration Furniture Office Reality

To create flexible collaborative spaces introduce flexible, moveable furniture that can be grouped together, stepping away from the traditional row-by column classroom layout.

'Get moving' - Flexible Furniture

To create flexible collaborative spaces introduce flexible, moveable furniture that can be grouped together, stepping away from the traditional row-by column classroom layout.

“Some students use a flexible classroom like adults do at a gym class, rotating onto the next activity after five minutes or so”, says Sam Stevens, Director of Design Services at Learning Spaces. “This is a great way to keep kids excited and engrossed as their attention wanes. Moving onto the next specific activity can produce great results if the kids are coached on how to use the facility and what’s expected.”

Sam also highlights the different states of flexible learnings, from ‘whole class flexibility’ (wheeling tables and chairs away to involve the whole class) to ‘immersive learning’, where plain white walls can be transformed instantly into scenes from history or nature.

Don't sit still - Chairs on castors

Whilst on the moving theme it is important for students to be able move into spaces which support the learning style of the lesson, lecture or presentation.  When movement is encouraged, students are more interactive, collaborative, comfortable and engaged. The campus chair is a perfect addition to educational and lecture style spaces.

The Campus Chair On Castors

The base of the chair supports the user whilst also incorporating a practical space for bags and belongings, this simple feature is reassuring for the user and allows each user to keep their bags from being a trip hazard.

Light

It’s not surprising to find that classrooms with minimal windows and little natural light have been found to increase depression.  However, sometimes natural light is not always accessible.

  • If natural light isn’t available, you can always use adequate artificial light
  • Using the correct lighting is important as it can prevent eye-strain and so help to keep students alert and focused
  • Alternatively, if there is too much incoming light, shrubs or plants can be placed outside to help reduce glare without being overpowering
  • It’s also important to consider the fact that you may need to alter the lighting for certain learning experiences. For example, you might need black-out blinds for some science lessons

Big Sky Horizon lighting creates general light fields similar to the spectra found in nature helping to improve wellbeing and positivity. For more information and advise about lighting within the classroom we can put you in touch with our lighting consultant.

Big Sky Limitless

 

And finally..Ask the students!

Allowing students to take ownership over their environment shows them you value their thoughts. In the book, The Classroom of Choice: Giving Students What They Need and Getting What you Want, author Jonathan Erwin says:

‘One of the most effective and practical ways teachers can give students a say in the classroom is by allowing them to participate in developing the classroom rules or behavior guidelines’.

Giving students a say will allow them to feel valued. As they contribute top the classroom expectations, they are more likely to follow them. They also will be able to use their critical thinking and creativity in redesigning their space – you may be surprised at the results! Having students involved will change the learning format too from ‘being taught’ to being direct participants, brainstorming, discussing, and refining.

Ask the students to design a classroom

We hope some of these points have been helpful in imagining and informing you of some creative ways you can change the classroom for the better. We have worked in numerous schools, colleges and Universities helping them create the absolute best learning environments possible. We would be happy to discuss any requirements you may have, and would welcome your students and pupils ideas too!

 

Posted by: Ben Hartley

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