Monday, May 25, 2015

21st Century Digital Learning Space: My Classroom Makeover

I never thought that it would actually come to fruition.  All year long, I have been dreaming, hoping and planning for an updated learning space for my intermediate Grade 7/8 classroom.

Well, dreams can come true; my classroom has arrived!

Cafe table seating

Standing height work tables with stools

Floor seating areas with rolling benches and rugs. We have had to move to two different floor areas rather than just the one that we started with, in order to accommodate more students.

No more teacher desk! I use a cafe table for conferencing with students and to set my laptop. Mostly, I move around the room conferring with students.

Two projection areas; I use apple TV on one of them, and the second is an Epson Brightlink Interactive projector.

Supply shelves with art, math and other materials always at the ready for students (and student mailboxes on top)

The classroom isn't totally complete and organized the way that I would like it yet, and I still have many improvements that I want to make, but this is a start.

The technology that I use is a combination of 15 iPad minis, about 5 SEA laptops (designated for Special Education students), and laptops that we bring in from the computer lab next door as needed.  Next year the plan is to add about 10 laptops to the classroom's collection of technology.

Here are some of the key things that I have noticed:

  • students work more quietly because they are close together with their collaboration groups and partners
  • students are actively engaged and move around as needed
  • "rocking" on chairs has been eliminated because students simply move around as needed when they become restless
  • the most popular work space is THE FLOOR (amazing what cheap, $15 rugs can do!!)
  • collaboration is easy and instant (a lot of time is saved on transitions because students are so used to transitioning to different work spaces throughout every class)
  • conferencing with students and providing feedback is easy because I go and stand beside them at their workspace or pull up a seat at the collaboration tables
  • students are spread out around the room so it is more private for working, collaborating and conferencing

I have had many people ask for my resources for the furniture.  I'm not sure that I'm 100% happy with everything, but it is at least a place to start.  I am hoping to write another post soon to give the pros and cons for what I currently have in place in the classroom.

Assiginack Intermediate 21st Century Classroom
 *prices are approximated as of November 2014

* interactive projector will need a whiteboard

15 Ipads, apple tv, cables
3 tech tubs for ipads

Collaborative Work Spaces-
Brodart Adjustable height café tables 4 @$184= $736
Brodart Adjustable  swizzle café stools 8@ $112=$896
Carr Maclean Mity bilt tables plum 4@$625= $2500
Ikea Standing height tables 2@$259=$518
Ikea Stool seating 8@$60= $480
Ikea Kallax benches/storage 2@$70=$140
Ikea casters 6@ $10=$60
Ikea Kallax storage $149
Staples Literature organizer $238
2 iKea Clearance rugs @ $15 each
assorted throw pillows

Henry’s Green Screen $99
Henry’s iPad mount for tripod $35


  1. Love, love, LOVE this space! I would love to come by and see it at some point. It looks so inviting, and it's great to hear that the students move comfortably from one area to another. When I put in my floor space, I was amazed to see how its use changed from day to day - some days students would be piled on the rug, other days NO ONE chose to sit there. Which is exactly the point :) The rolling benches that double as storage are a great idea. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I am so glad I found your blog. I am currently in the process of converting my 4th grade classroom into an alternative seating space. I have been struggling to find a cafe style table that is large enough to have multiple students working there at a time. I saw your table you posted at IKEA and can't believe I haven't found that before! Did you get a grant for your items or purchase them yourself? I have everything read for my classroom to begin but really want a large standing table. One of my parents suggested starting a gofundme account but I don't know if I am patient enough to wait :)

    1. Thanks for your comment Victoria. I received a grant from my Board after I put together a presentation and proposal. I agreed to open up my classroom for other teachers to visit, and to make another presentation after I had it all in place and functioning. Some of the items I did purchase out of pocket. If you end up buying a standing table yourself you could always take it home later as a craft/work table, if you later get funding for purchases.

  3. Hello! I'm considering no-desk this year and was wondering if you use a document camera, and if so, where do you have it in your room? Is it on your cafe table or on a separate surface? Thank you!