If you moved your desk or bookshelf would there be decade-old indents in the carpet or rings of dust on the floor? With so much occurring during the academic year, small upgrades to the classroom are sometimes put on the backburner. Here are five easy makeover tips that you can apply to your physical learning space.
1. Student involvement
First and foremost, your students are the main beneficiaries of your classroom redesign. As the primary users of this space, get them involved in the brainstorming and creative process. This gives them a sense of ownership and a chance to offer their suggestions for areas they feel are lacking.
2. Start with a blank slate
Simply getting rid of the junk that has accumulated over the years can work wonders. Less is often more because it gives children room for growth as the school year progresses and allows for their input in the development. A deep clean is recommended at the beginning of the year before things pick up and accelerate with the kids.
3. Lighting: fluorescent fixes
Though often overlooked, lighting should be one of the primary considerations in any classroom makeover. Those overhead fluorescent lights — used in virtually every schoolroom known to man — can interfere with student’s scotopic sensitivity and are known to cause stress, anxiety, and hyperactivity. Create a calmer, cozier environment with light filters, which can also help to reduce harsh glare. If your room is blessed with lots of natural light, that’s even better. Don’t forget blinds or curtains that effectively block out the light when necessary.
4. Classroom color burst
A pop of color can change the entire mood and visual appeal of a room. With permission, think about painting your walls with colors that sooth such as a pale blue, yellow or lavender. Color can mean more than just slapping on some paint. Tom Diebold, a consultant for training and development, suggests printing worksheets and reference materials on a different color of paper or use color transparencies to reduce figure-ground difficulties.
Adjusting the thermostat isn’t something most teachers have on their makeover list, but it should be. It’s not possible to please every student, but finding a suitable temperature to keep your classroom can play a significant role in learning. Most teachers typically prefer a cooler room since it keeps students alert, whereas warmer rooms can lead to sleepiness.