Summer’s here! The new school year will start in August or September for most of us. Ready for a new and fresh space? Start with a mental inventory of your class seating by scanning the room and counting the number of spaces available for students to sit or stand while learning. A 1:1 seat to student ratio is great, but providing additional options for them is even better.
How can you make this work in your space? Here are 4 things to keep in mind when refreshing your classroom.
Designing the Classroom
First, think about how you want to design your classroom. Allowing students flexible seating would be ideal. This allows for self-choice and decision-making. You may want to delineate specific areas of the room for different types of learning. For example, the quiet zone is meant for independent work. Social area is a place where students can work in pairs or small groups. The mentor area is where students can approach the teacher for assistance. Be creative with the names and ideas here! This blog gives additional ideas for different classroom spaces.
Determine the Seating Options
Next, determine what type of seating you want for each space. There are so many to choose from – traditional desk chairs, wobbly chairs, stability balls, standing desks, beanbag chairs, rocker chairs, and more. Start small and add on as you feel more comfortable.
Funding Your New Space
No funds for furniture or equipment? Some teachers request donations on social media and other places. There are a ton of fundraising options online that make it easy to post your wish list. You never know who might donate money or equipment!
Have a Plan Prepared
Finally, when it’s time for students to come back to school and use the space, have a plan in mind. You still have control of your classroom, so know that there will be a trial period in which students will need to get used to the newness of it all. Allow them to try out different areas at different times early on. But also hold them responsible for making good choices about where they sit and what they do at their space. If they cannot handle it, you have the authority to move them at any time.
Good luck as you explore the different options for your space! Leave a comment below to let us know how different pieces of equipment worked with your students.
Heather is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion at the University of Kentucky. She is a former physical education teacher, and co-author of Dynamic Physical Education for Secondary School Children, 8ed. Heather was also the recipient of the NASPE Curriculum and Instruction Young Scholar Award and a AAHPERD Research Consortium Fellow.