Those of you who have followed our work for any length of time know the number of years we've spent designing and advocating for classrooms that have alternative seating and work areas. Our Classroom Design journey began simply by observing our students. If you take a moment and think of students who have passed through the doors of your school and classroom, you will likely be able to picture children who struggled to sit for very long in one of the uncomfortable school chairs or to stay in one spot for any length of time. Those children are just like the ones who pushed us to think differently about our classroom design so we could help them be more successful. Our efforts had amazing results.
This is why we are so delighted to see more brain research about the power of flexible seating and movement as well as other educators experimenting with and writing about classroom design. Kayla Delzer, author of a popular EdSurge column titled, "Why the 21st Century Classroom May Remind You of Starbucks" says,
To see that some classrooms look the same now as they did 70 years ago is shameful. The students we share our classrooms with don't know life without constant connectivity, WiFi, and a global audience. Outside the windows of our classroom is a dynamic, fast-paced, and ever-changing world full of choices. How can we expect our students to solve problems and make choices independently if we constantly solve their problems and make their choices for them? Our classroom environments should be conducive to open collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
Do you want to create a classroom environment that is more reflective of your students' needs? Here are a number of resources to get you started.
- What alternative seating really looks like
- Addressing the teacher space
- How to teach whole group with an alternative seating design
- How to manage student supplies if students don't have their own desks
- Organizing and storing class materials
- What about middle school classroom makeovers?
- What about my principal?
- How to begin