Saturday, February 04, 2012

Classroom Design: Children Speak

I quickly rearranged desks for better listening.  Students arrived and immediately proposed a plan for change.  I listened, and through a process of negotiation we changed the arrangement.  I told them that the key to the change was that they didn't just complain, instead they came to me with a plan for change.  Then I went on to share the research I've been doing related to classroom design both on my own and at Educon.

They became very excited and wanted to voice their opinion and ideas.  Therefore, I decided that we'd spend some time working as individuals or teams creating and proposing changes related to current learning and classroom design so that all students can learn well.  I framed the discussion with the "needs, wants, and desires" framework.

For about an hour, students worked with laptops at tables, on the rug and at desks discussing, researching and writing about optimal design.  They posted their thoughts on our closed classroom social network, NING, in forum discussions.  Take a look at what 10-year olds proposed below.  I welcome your response and comments, and will share that information with students as we continue to explore design for optimal educational effect.

Team AAY

  • More new books because I love reading.
  • More reading time because I have a lot of books and little time.
  • More story writing time (fiction) because I have a lot of fantasy ideas.
  • More erasers because people don't have any.
  • More time to do projects, that way we finish more work, and more edit until it's finished. 
  • Free time when we can eat for ten to twenty minutes because we like playing with our friends at recess.
  • Choice of indoor or outdoor recess because we like to stay inside when we have the computers.
  • No-sound reading chair because I think it might be cool.
  • More Goddess Girl books because I love that series.
  • More free computer time because sometimes we need a break on computers.
  • Bigger desks because we could keep more stuff in it like books, folders and supplies. 

Team ET

Tamira and Elissa desire this classroom/ because we think it will be a comfortable learning place.
We think this will be a great way for people to learn.
Fun way for reading and it is good for people that like to read to block out the noise.
  • Vending machine for people that don't have any thing to drink or eat for snack
  • Outside 40'X60'X18' / 2 3/8" Domed Truss


  1. A clean classroom.
  2. More reading time.
  3. More computer time.
  4. More beanbags because people wouldn't have to wait.
  5. Better chairs and desk because are desk are boiring.
  1. More recess.
  2. More gym.
  3. Fun projects.
  4. Fun activities.
  5. Paint the room with bright colors because the room is dull.
  6. More games.
Can we take away the wall in the back of the room because it doesn't look good, and I wan't to have more beanbags and the things Ms.Devlin showed us because I want a comfy place to read and we don't have to wait so long to get the beanbags. Take away the blower because the blower makes a lot of noise. Eating outside because the lunch room can be hot and noisy. 

Team SJN
I THINK WE NEED: MORE CALM DOWN COOL DOWNS because then if everyday we got calm-down-cool-downs then maybe we won't be as not-listening.
I WANT: MORE RECESS because I dont think we get enough recess.
I DESIRE: BETTER CHAIRS so we can be more comfortable.

I think that we should have more recess.  We should have more recess because some kids come in with more energy than teachers expect and start fooling. Then they end up in the office.
I think we should have healthy vending machines.  We should have vending machines because some kids forget their snack or some kids might get hungry.
I think we should have bigger, better lunch meals.
I think we should have sales to raise money for the items.

  • One of my desires is that everyone should have a bigger desk because some of the taller kidslike me get a bit uncomfortable on the small desks because our legs get bent or crossed.
  • I also desire that we should get the chairs that block the sound because you can be annoyed and get into an argument and you could get less reading time and I know how much this class likes to read. 
  • I think we need to have more recess because we get more riled up when we don't have a lot. 
  • I want a time of day where we get to play tutpup (online math game) for a while so we can get better at math and typing and so on and have fun with it.
  • We need more reading time because then we get a time of peace and quite and to get better at reading.
  • I want a calm down cool down time every day because we get to just relax and settle in after the long fun recess and get to digest all the food that we just ate so we can be ready for the learning.

Kayla and I think we should have the following things in the classroom, a chair that hangs from the ceiling, for cozy reading time and relaxing in calm down cool down or indoor recess. Kayla and I think we should have a people pad for the rug so everyone can be comfy and do their work without fighting over bean bags, look at this awesome couch called so not your grandma's couch, and this awesome lounger you can plug your electronic devices. Also for the kids who like to read on the playground look at these awesome sun loungers! (it wont let us put ether of the lounger pictures in ) and a taylor swift poster which will be on our wall that has our inspirations for the class. Thank You Ms.Devlin!!!