Home > Diversity Teaching, Strategic Teaching, Stressed Out K-12 > Create a floor plan that flows from your classroom door .

Create a floor plan that flows from your classroom door .

Photo Credit by LizMarie

Welcoming students to a successful and warmly inviting classroom begins with you designing a successful floor plan. You can model great floor plans from mentor teachers that mirror comfortable learning environments, but playing around with various concepts over time is the best way to hone your skills. Here are a few suggestions toward creating a floor plan that flows from your classroom door.


Stressed Out K – 12 Education Series 5.1

Step 1
Remove any obstructive furniture from your entrance. Teachers have the tendency to think that creating a barrier between the hub of classroom activity and the entrance will block out disturbances. Actually entering a blocked classroom entrance from a long and opened hallway or outdoor exit instantly distorts the flow of positive energy. Think of your students being able to finally take deep comforting breaths, from the story told about them in your hallway display to the minute they enter their classroom.

Step 2
Set the stage for routines by thinking about where your station for opening instruction will be located. This station should include an easy way for students to figure out all homework assignments from previous weeks without having to interrupt you from greeting students, passing out graded assignments, or taking attendance. Consider placing the homework station as far away from the entrance as possible so that the flow of movement isn’t broken or bottlenecked [3 ring binders with tabs and pockets work nicely].

Step 3
Supplies for specific task should be a separated by itself whenever possible to prevent congestion near the homework station. Also try to have the placement of those items linear from left to right or visa versa so that students become familiar with assembling routines that reduce time needed to get in and back to their work stations.

Step 4
Assign students to small teams of four and title job responsibilities for efficiency. Some titles to consider are: Project Manager or Timekeeper, Team Coordinator, Distribution Manager, and Team Instructor. You can define the job descriptions as needed the important thing is that students of all ages thrive on opportunities to be responsible and praised for accountability. The key idea in effective floor planning here is to have the Distributor of the group collect and pass out assignments from another area of the classroom to avoid everyone congregating.

Step 5
Having a specific chalkboard or overhead for assignments and daily instructions may sound elementary but it works. Take a photo of an assignment on the board, and a close up of all the stations to use in your substitute teaching notes is sweet. The same picture can be quickly sent to parents by picture mail or Twitpic [http://twitpic.com] so that they are always on top of things easily (see Step 2 of 7 Steps to Becoming an Effective Teacher).

P.S. If you have been inspired from this article please consider leaving a comment and subscribing to the RSS feed (top right column) to have future post delivered to your feed reader. Please send your friends to http://laroncarter.com to connect with me or @laroncarter on Twitter.

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  1. November 19, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Great post, full of sensible advice. I like the idea in step 5 particularly. Good stuff!

  2. Kim
    December 5, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Hi LaRon,

    You bring up some great ideas about how to arrange your classroom. I am also very interested in designing a classroom that students can feel comfortable in. I want it to feel like a homey learning environment. One thing that I have noticed is that it can look like an explosion has hit the classroom with so much stuff on the walls. While I understand that there are a lot of learning tools that would be good to have on the walls, I think that students can get lost in the chaos with too much up there. This is an attitude that may very well change being as I am just learning how to be a teacher, though I have been in many classrooms that make me feel very unfocused because of all the things on the walls.

    Kim

    • December 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm

      Hey Kim, Welcome to the new world of learning for us teachers. You are ‘right on’ with trusting your intuition regarding what’s right in you teaching program. I appreciate your anticipation of change over time, but there is a thing called over stimulated environments. Designing clearly defined work stations affords a little more liberty with the use of learning tools and a student’s focus can be guided. My suggestion is to focus on being able to manage the learners within the space as a priority over relaxing. Building confident learners will over ride spacial discomfort every time. Trust me.

      • December 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm

        Another strategy is to frame your the space (walls) with borders (include adequate spacing) to identify the theme. Reading Liz Marie’s blog on the photo link above I believe she may have grown a lot over her last two years of floor planning. She has other Flickr pic angles of that same classroom. Your plans will develop with time, remember it’s what you put in their hearts that matters more than what’s on the wall. Stay focused. Stay confident and you will win!

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