A classroom is a tiny haven of learning and knowledge. It is within these walls that students spend a significant portion of their day which is normally six to eight hours. Through all the lectures, interactions, and study sessions, the classroom sees it all.
The design and arrangement of a classroom play a pivotal role in establishing a conducive learning environment and ensuring an effective educational experience. It’s not only about the physical layout but also about creating infrastructure and thematic elements that promote learning and personal development while also ensuring that the space is welcoming and vibrant.
As simple as it sounds for a classroom to be built and decorated, it can be a confusing and daunting task. So, shared below is a list of some cool, easy, and creative things that you can include in your classroom to ignite student’s curiosity and enhance their overall learning experience:
Transforming learning spaces: Cool things to have in a classroom
Creating an engaging and captivating classroom environment demands careful consideration, aiming to foster a space that encourages creativity while providing comfort for students. Here are cool things that can make a classroom a cool place to learn without compromising comfort and enjoyment:
1. Flexible seating
A classroom must not be a restrictive or limiting space for anyone. One can include flexible settings or seating plans like different types of chairs, bean bags, couches, and floor cushions in the class. This will diversify creativity, and thinking and instill the essence of comfort and ease.
2. Classroom Library
A classroom library can have easily portable bookshelves stacked together with an array of books of all genres. Students can collaborate to build this up by themselves. They can also contribute to setting up books of their choice of genres, as well as give suggestions for more books that can be included.
3. Indoor plants
A lively space is that which is in touch with nature. More greenery in a space has a calming and relaxing effect. Including indoor plants in the class can make it attractive and radiant. Also, students will be enrolled in environmental science activities like taking care of plants and trying to increase their knowledge base for the same.
4. Classroom board games
A classroom provides a space for fun and laughter as much as it does for knowledge and wisdom, so why not inculcate both? The teachers can include classroom board games such as Monopoly, scrabble, or wordplay, or it can be subject-specific like math board games in the class, and use them for short breaks in between study sessions.
5. Interactive whiteboard
An interactive whiteboard may be technologically driven or may have drop-down charts and curtained scales. This allows students to step away from the conventional way of teaching and elevate better visual and spatial learning for the students, making the class interesting and interactive.
6. Flexible lighting
The lighting of a room is often directly associated with one’s mood. One should keep in mind that the intensity and amount of lighting must be flexible depending on the needs, requirements, and spirit of the class every day. This breaks the sense of dull and exhaustive working and helps encourage creativity and spontaneity.
7. Learning centers
A classroom can often be seen as a restrictive or bound place. To prevent this from happening, the school can encourage creating learning centers or learning corners in the class for each subject, like the math corner or arts and crafts corner where students can voluntarily contribute their ideas and projects.
8. Classroom mailbox
A little creativity in the classroom can induce a sense of fun and interaction among students. One way to do this is by installing a classroom mailbox in the class as a place for the students to submit their projects, assignments, and daily homework. This gives the classroom a lively and fun environment.
9. Book nooks
Activities like reading and writing often require a quiet, warm, and cozy place. Besides an option of the classroom library, students can collaboratively create book nooks in the corners of the classroom with floor cushions, writing pads, and novels where one can go for some time of peace and relaxation.
10. Multilingual word charts
A class can be made inclusive of diversity in terms of culture and language. Incorporating cultural diversity activities in the class is one of the ways to ensure the same. Make multilingual word charts that represent a single phrase, like “happy learning”, or a famous quote like “knowledge is power” in different languages and in decorative ways promoting diversity and inclusivity.
11. Virtual reality stations
Technologically driven smart boards and stations are widely used to increase student interaction and engagement. Teachers can use virtual reality stations to facilitate pictorial representation of various lesson topics and provide better visual and conceptual learning.
12. Goal-setting maps
A classroom must encourage goal-setting games and activities within the classroom. One way to do this is by making goal-setting maps in the class where each student can keep track of their projects, assignments, and submissions in the class. This helps in building and sustaining a motivational-driven environment in the class.
13. Themed calendar events
Students can group together to make a classroom calendar, with each month’s column highlighting important classroom events like presentation day, debate competition, arts and crafts day, etc. This can be posted as a class chart in the classroom.
14. Classroom recycling center
Being eco-friendly requires tiny but consistent steps to be adopted by everyone. This can be taught to the students by making the class an eco-friendly and environment-friendly space. One can do this by installing recycling bins in the class, along with indulging the class in activities of reusing, reducing, and recycling.
15. Achievement bulletin boards
The use of bulletin boards made of hardboard or wood can be a great way for students to feel included and recognized. Through the use of sticky notes, highlighters, and pin bulbs, each student can post their weekly achievements on the board, like scoring high on a test, getting good remarks on an assignment, or winning a competition.
It can also include personal achievements and successes like setting a study routine or excelling in a new skill as well as positive affirmations. This will give them a sense of achievement, fostering self-confidence and personal growth.
16. Sensory tools
A classroom often misses out on providing enough sensory stimulus to keep the students engaged. This can be done by providing sensory tools and toys like compress balls, fidget toys, or Rubik’s cubes. These resources can significantly contribute to improved concentration and attention span, ultimately extending the duration of students’ focused learning.
17. Creative wall art
Students are generally not allowed to use walls for any type of activity. To harness the creative potential of these spaces, consider dedicating a specific section or corner of a wall to serve as a dynamic “wall art station.” This innovative approach allows students to express themselves creatively while engaging in enjoyable art activities, transforming the learning environment into an interactive and captivating experience.
18. Maps and clocks
A classroom must be inclusive and openly welcoming of cultural diversity. This does not only include acknowledging cultural differences, but also time and space. A classroom can install a large world map on one of the walls along with clocks of various different time zones from all over the world.
If a class has, let’s say, three clocks, one can be set according to the present time zone and placed on its current location on the map. Simultaneously, students themselves can actively change the other two with different time zones of countries every week placing and learning about the details of that country including location, history, geography, etc.
Wrapping it up
A classroom is a place of knowledge and wisdom, but at the same time, it must also be an inclusive space of different interests, creative exploration, fun, and interaction. It is natural for students to feel bored and exhausted being stuck in monotonous patterns and dull environments.
For a class to be engaging, it needs to be built in a way that caters to all the needs and wants of students. Increasing the attention span and engagement of students by adding such cool things to a classroom can facilitate high productivity levels, and allow the kids to function at their utmost creative and intellectual potential.
- Kuijsters, A., Redi, J., & Heynderickx, I. (2015). Lighting to Make You Feel Better: Improving the Mood of Elderly People with Affective Ambiences. PLoS ONE, 10(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132732
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