Classroom Layout and Explanation
The classroom layout plan was created for my Classroom Management course during my sophomore year. The explanation of the layout uses Steele's six functions for a successful environment. The classroom is planned to foster a positive learning environment that is warm and inviting as well as functional. I decided to use trios of learners to increase collaboration among the students and avoid certain classroom management difficulties such as increased distraction with larger groups or what to do with partners when one is absent. Even though it does not seem like an issue, when a partner is absent, instructional time is wasted trying to pair up the students and for the students to acclaimate themselves to their new partners. In my second grade student teaching placement, we had a large number of students moving out of the classrooms and we were constantly rearranging seats. With a trio, there should always be a solution to the above problems.
I made sure to keep in mind Steele’s six functions for a successful classroom layout while designing my classroom: security and shelter, social contact, promote symbolic identification, task instrumentality, pleasure, and growth. In order for my class to run smoothly, I took both the needs of individual students as well as the whole class into consideration. It was essential for the space to be fun as well as functional.
Above all else, safety and security in my eyes are the most important aspects of the classroom. The room should be a safe haven for the students and if they feel safe and secure, they will be less likely to be distracted during learning. To address safety, I allowed plenty of room for movement around the classroom. If the desks were overcrowded it would not be safe for a child to simply return to their seat without bumping into a classmate. I also allowed an open space near the door and coat racks for ease of exiting in case of an emergency or fire drill and to create personal space when the students line up to go outside of the classroom. By having the teacher’s desk facing the door and behind the students, I will be able to observe possible safety issues in the hallway as well as monitor the students during individual work. Security is implemented into the classroom with warm and cool colors as well as various comfortable fabrics and surfaces. The carpeted comfort area provides a private escape for students who are feeling overwhelmed. The bookshelves create a sense of closed-off privacy, but they are short enough for an adult to easily look over and monitor safety. This area is especially important for Troy, who needs to escape and regroup if he feels agitated. I also took Troy’s seating into consideration and placed him in the front row so he will not easily be distracted and he also has easy access to the classroom door when he needs to leave for testing or for self-initiated breaks.
It is important for each of my students to take initiative in their own learning as well as contributing to our community of learners. I created a desk area where there are groups of three students in rows. This layout gives the students the ability to work by themselves as well as work in their trio for group activities. The group table is used for reading groups, small meetings, science demonstrations, and other group activities. The open space by the door is also used for kinesthetic activities.
To promote symbolic identification in the classroom, the bulletin board on the right of the black board will be the responsibility of trios of students to create based on a lesson during their week. The trios will be rearranged after the first half of the year and the new trios will also be responsible for decorating the board for a week. Students’ artwork and academic work will be displayed and rotated throughout the year so the students can take ownership of the classroom. I will also promote symbolic identification through my own pieces in the classroom in the form of self-created posters, personal pictures of places I have been and my family, and bring in various items to decorate the room in my style.
The space is very functional and many tasks can be performed at the same time. For instance, students can work by themselves or in their trios in the front of the room while others engage in silent reading in the cozy corner, explore using the technology corner, or by doing activities at the group table. The different stations in the room are adequately spaced so that noise will not interfere with the learning. Also, the stations face in different directions so that distractions from classmates will be at a minimum.
Along with safety, pleasure is also a very important aspect of a classroom. If the space is not pleasurable, the students will not be as ready to learn. The classroom is decorated using various bright colors from both a warm and cool color palate so it is pleasing to the eyes. Pleasure will be created by using an underwater theme that will be represented through decorations as well as the aquarium in the back of the room that will be used for exploration and create learning opportunities. Books on the shelves will be rich with academic values and lessons as well as other books for leisure.
As the year progresses, the students will need to grow academically. This goal is implemented in the various exploration opportunities in the classroom such as the science materials and the technology corner. Even though the environment includes pleasure aspects, the main structure was created to be very functional in promoting academic achievement and performance.