In a perfect world, teachers would be able to create their ideal classrooms with all the supplies and materials they could ever want … no questions asked.
In today’s world, teachers are able to claim up to $250 off of their taxes for personal spending that was used towards their classrooms and students. They are then at the mercy of their school district’s budget with other yearly allotments. Some teachers turn to grants or DonorsChoose to make their classroom layout dreams come true.
I have yet to use any of my own money or ask for funding through grants or DonorsChoose, as I am still figuring out what works in my classroom with my students.
This week in CEP 811: Adapting Innovative Technology to Education, we were assigned with a task of putting our current learning spaces under construction without the constraints of a budget using SketchUp, a 3D modeling software.
Classroom Set Up – 2015-2018
My classroom has gone through many changes ever since I started two and a half years ago. While it has always been a mess, there have been larger changes over the years. Originally, the classroom included six computers that lined the back of the room, one closet in the back corner, and one bookshelf that I managed to snag after a teacher left behind.
In the summer of 2017, I removed all of the computers to make room for additional bookshelves for the classroom library. I received a large number of book donations from community members, friends, family, and the local CADL branch. Without a functioning school library, a created and maintained a classroom library to provide students with books to read.
The “tennis court” style of desks has been my go-to arrangement. I discovered the set up during my teaching internship during the 2014-2015 school year. My mentor teacher’s classroom was set up with desks in six-by-six rows facing the front of the room. I found it difficult to reach students at the back of the room, physically and mentally.
I collaborated with my mentor and peers in my cohort and came up with the “tennis court” configuration to encourage discussion, allow for easier transitions into Socratic seminars, and to move the classroom away from a teacher focus. It also allowed students to talk amongst themselves and collaborate together in small groups (Keany, 2014).
At first, SketchUp looked like an awesome software that could detail out architecture hopes and dreams. The interface ended up being confusing and it took me a while to figure out. Not only did I have to utilize the tutorials on its website, but I also found myself Googling specific questions and watching numerous YouTube videos, as well, to get the hang of the new tool.
Ideal Design of Learning Space
For an ideal learning space, I believe my classroom would need to undergo a transformation. Here is a breakdown of what I have planned:
- Rolling multipurpose chairs from Steelcase to replace traditional desks. These would provide students with the ability to create a variety of desk configurations, including pairs, circles, and “the hybrid” (Braun, 2016).
- The teacher’s desk area would be simpler and mainstreamed. I purposefully left the teacher’s desk without a chair, as I have always been open to a standing desk.
Going over plans of my ideal learning space in the 21st century has been fun, but let’s get to the cost of such a plan.
- 30 multipurpose chairs with desk @ $458 each = $13,740
- 11 5-shelf bookcases @ $92.23 each = $1,014.53
- 1 standing desk = $99.95
- 1 8′ whiteboard (back of the room) = $375.81
- 3 6-packs of cloth storage bins @ $21.99 each = $65.97
- Total cost = $15.296.26
Note: These prices are as of February 2018.
Yikes! Despite the flexibility of the chairs, they are the largest portion of the budget.
Do you think I should get a few at a time? What types of funding have you had success with – DonorsChoose, school district’s budget, grants? Let me know!
Braun, Hannah. (2016, March 1). 11 easy desk arrangements for your best classroom yet. Retrieved from https://www.theclassroomkey.com/2016/03/11-easy-desk-arrangements-best-classroom-yet.html
Keany, Michael. (2014, May 15). What your classroom set up may be saying to students by colleen lee. Retrieved from http://www.schoolleadership20.com/forum/topics/what-your-classroom-setup-may-be-saying-to-students-by-colleen-le