Saturday, September 6, 2014

Classroom Environments

Day 5 of the +TeachThought 30-Day logging challenge already!  I'm loving sharing ideas with everyone and reading thoughts on a range of topics.

This was at the beginning of the year and we were just creating our learning environment together

As I'm not in the classroom at the moment, I've included photos from over the past few years.  My favourite classroom environment was an MLE - Modern Learning Environment - created a few years ago at a primary / elementary school where I was the Deputy Principal.  We got rid of the desks and used flexible learning spaces, cushions, tables, ergonomic chairs, ottomans, etc. Students were able to store their personal property in tote trays and there were still a couple of desks for students who work better sitting at one, but it was completely free choice.  I've always had the philosophy that students, no matter what age, are able to choose where they want to sit - that they have the right to do this but that freedom of choice / right comes with responsibilities.  We created these responsibilities together - focusing on work, allowing others to work without being distracted etc.  If I was allowing / expecting this to happen, then I also had the right to move them if they were not respecting the guidelines we'd created as a team.

Start of year without all their learning on the walls yet

I've always had flexible learning spaces but they were somewhat limited by the use of desks.  I noticed when learning and teaching in this different environment that the students were far more focused on their learning. Initially I believed they would gravitate to their friends to work and, yes, they did in the beginning.  That soon changed and they were working with a far wider range of classmates than they would have if they had been sitting in desks.

Awesome learning on camp

Outside the classroom is just an extension of our learning environment and we often work and learn outdoors - and go on camps!  For some students this not only connects what they are learning but it also helps them to increase their concentration and focus.

One of the best things I ever did was to get rid of my teacher's desk.  I was hardly ever sitting at it anyway as I was always working with students so we turned that into a writer's corner.  We also had science areas, maths areas, art, etc.  I'm still looking for more of these photos and will edit the post when they come to light.

Solving maths and logic problems



  1. This is a vibrant and comfortable looking classroom.

    1. Thanks Heather. I've loved all my classrooms and try to make them as comfortable and 'un-classroom-like' as possible. Not always easy in some spaces. I was incredibly lucky that I had a very forward thinking Principal a few years ago who was as passionate about Modern Learning Environments as I was and we worked together to change the original environment into one that really promoted collaboration and creativity in a relaxed atmosphere.