Challeen was one of our most enthusiastic classroom makeover winners. She had already implemented flexible seating halfway through last school year, so she was well aware of the voice and choice it provided her sixth-grade students. However, since implementation, she’d had challenges in finding durable seating options and organizational systems which would suit the needs of 6th graders and a large class size.
After assessing the needs of her classroom and students and visiting a few schools for inspiration, we got to work finding durable seating options, a calming and cohesive color scheme, and practical, simplistic organization for Challeen’s classroom.
We chose this gorgeous aqua, grey, and lemon yellow color scheme:
Challeen already had a lot of great tables in her room, but she also had a lot of individual desks which limited student collaboration. We decided to keep her tables and trade the individual student desks for a variety of seating areas which could be dedicated to certain learning activities:
- a comfortable couch where students could cozy up with a book
- an industrial high-top table near the makerspace where students could get creative (and a bit messy)
- a variety of collaborative areas with seating options such as yoga balls, wobble stools, cube seats, and ottoman.
We were all shocked at how large her room looked once we removed the individual student desks! We are always hearing how big our classrooms are. It isn’t that the classrooms are bigger than other classrooms. Classrooms look BIG once you take out the wall-to-wall desks and extra items! Decluttering can also make a space feel so much bigger!
We also removed any storage options which were not working well and traded them for bins that were color coordinated and better fit the materials they were intended to hold. Challeen worked hard at the end of the school year to get rid of clutter. If she hadn’t used a resource or item in the past school year, she got rid of it!
Then there was our greatest nemesis- the brown wall. Many of the older schools in our district have these giant, brown chalkboard walls. They don’t work very well, and they are quite the eyesore. We came up with a plan to cover the wall in wood-look paper to give classroom a rustic, homey feel.
Another detail that made a big impact was painting. Old brown metal bookshelves were painted white to help the space look newer and brighter, and some built-in cabinets were painted a lighter aqua to coordinate with the new color scheme.
Then, we assembled a variety of furniture including a couch, storage items (including storage for the makerspace and community supplies), and shelves. Once everything was assembled, we considered the classroom layout. Ultimately, we arranged the collaborative spaces in a manner which allows all students to still see the whole group area for when Challeen needed the attention of the whole class. The library was placed in a cozy corner, and independent work areas were situated on the perimeter of the classroom.
Final touches included decorative items to make the classroom feel like a home: placemats, plants, art, containers, and various storage items (all in coordinating colors, of course!)
This was one of our greatest transformations! It proved that it doesn’t matter the age of your building or the size of your class, any room can look inviting, organized, and be versatile for different types of learners!
If you’re interested in purchasing some of these items, we did a lot of shopping on Amazon! Here are some of the items that made a big impact in this classroom:
30-inch industrial stools:
If you get the super tall 30-inch stools, you probably need a super tall table to go with it:
Teal beanbag lounger:
Adorable little yellow lamp:
Yellow yoga balls:
This sofa is far cheaper at IKEA, but if there isn’t an IKEA near you and you have to have it, here’s the Amazon link: