A well-designed classroom boosts student learning by as much as 16% (Barrett, Zhang, Davies, & Barrett 2015), but overdecorating is a distraction. Busy teachers can use good classroom decoration and design principles to boost learning. Here’s a quick list of the most valuable classroom decoration and design resources.
Classroom Design Resources
- Tips for Creating Wow-Worthy Learning Spaces by Todd Finley [Edutopia]
- Using Bulletin Boards to Differentiate the Classroom Environment by Jessica Mazone [Gifted Education Communicator]
- When Students Design Their Own Schools by Erin Klein
- Lessons in School Design by Crow Island Elementary by Suzie Boss [Edutopia] New! 1/18/2016
Interviews with Experts
- Erin Klein on Classroom Design [Every Classroom Matters episode]
- 3 Learning Experiences You Should Give to Every Student [Every Classroom Matters episode]
Tools to Help You Design Your Classroom
- MyKaplan Floor Planner – This free floor planner gives you sample floor plans but lets you work to make your dream classroom work.
- Gliffy – My room was such an odd shape, that I used gliffy to design the floor plan in my classroom.
- Classroom Architect – a Free Classroom floor planner. This doesn’t have as many modern elements as MyKaplan, but is simple and requires no login.
- Learning Space Toolkit by North Carolina State University has a system for needs assessment and space planning.
- 7 Principles for Classroom Design: The Learning Space Rating System by Educause New! 1/18/2016
- Architect’s RosanBosch’s Portfolio of Teaching & Institution Designs
- Terry Heick’s Learnist Board with 50 Bulletin Board Ideas
- 24 Places to Find Bulletin Board Displays by Julie Greller
- School Girl Style’s Classroom Ideas
- Make Space: How to Set the Stage for Creative Collaboration by Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft
- The Third Teacher by O’Donnel, Wicklund, Pigozze and Peterson
Classroom Design Research and White Papers
Take time to read the research on classroom design and outdoor playground spaces.
- Barrett, P. S., Zhang, Y., Davies, F., & Barrett, L. C. (2015). Clever Classrooms: Summary report of the HEAD project. University of Salford, Manchester.
- http://wallenberg.stanford.edu/research/findings/HPLS/HPLS_Final_Report.pdf [PDF] High Performance Learning Spaces – a paper shared by Stanford University in 2004 about their research into creating spaces where high performance learning happens.
- An Informational Guide to Young Children’s Outdoor Play Spaces [PDF] by the Consortium for Health, Intervention, Learning and Development (CHILD) – This guide is based on the 7 C’s identified by a five-year study of outdoor play spaces at child care centers in Vancouver. The 7 C’s include: character, context, connectivity, change, chance, clarity, and challenge. This paper gives lots of examples and ideas for what makes an excellent, nurturing outdoor play space.
- Really Good Bulletin Boards [PDF] by Brandi Jordan has fantastic month by month ideas and bulletin board concepts for teachers. This is an excellent PDF to share with your staff.
- Folkins, J. W., Friberg, J. C., & Cesarini, P. A. (2015). University Classroom Design Principles to Facilitate Learning: The Instructor as Advocate. Planning for Higher Education, 43(2), 45.
- Simmons, K., Carpenter, L., Crenshaw, S., & Hinton, V. M. (2015). Exploration of Classroom Seating Arrangement and Student Behavior in a Second Grade Classroom. Georgia Educational Researcher, 12(1), 51.
- How Classroom Design Impacts Student Engagement. White Paper. New! 1/18/2016
Build Your Classroom Design PLN
Build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) by adding these experts and resources to your social media accounts.
Classroom Design Communities
- Classroom Cribs – This cool space focuses on brain-friendly classroom design and runs a challenge at the beginning of each school year.
Classroom Design Hashtags
Classroom Design Pinterest Boards
- Classroom Environment Board by What Have I Learned
- Classroom Design Board by Erin Klein (she’s one of my favorites)
- Classroom Management Board curated by 81 Teachers on Pinterest has lots of ideas.
People Who Tweet About Classroom Design
- “Setting Up a Brain Friendly, Beautiful Classroom” Erin Klein did a webinar on setting up a Brainfriendly classroom that I recommend watching.
How to Make an Ugly Classroom Beautiful
This time lapse video has over 200,000 views for a reason. Awesome. Once again, we see that classroom decoration is an art. The only question I have about this classroom is if it is too noisy, but I love how the teacher uses inexpensive supplies like construction paper to make a huge difference. I also like the share chair at the front. I am also curious how well the paper held up during the year but he did put clear tape over it on the desks.
Classroom Caboodle’s elementary Classroom Layout
Organizing Student Work featuring Ms. Hepburn’s First Grade Classroom
Question:What is missing? Please share in the comments and I’ll check it out and add it to this list. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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