Classroom Design Inspiration from Artcobell
Artcobell helps schools and teachers by offering student furniture for all learning strategies. By working closely with teachers, they are able to better understand and create for 21st Century Classrooms.
Through a study conducted in tandem with the Houston School District, they identified the six zones necessary for every 21st Century Classroom.
ZONE 1 – Instruct
The instruction zone serves as a little oasis away from home, but it also helps you manage your professional responsibilities. This zone serves as a private space to host one-on-one conferences with your students.
ZONE 2 – Learn
The learning zone houses the worksheets, resources, games, and tech tools for the subjects you teach. It’s crucial to display how subjects interconnect because too many students have a difficult time relating subject matter to other disciplines. Tools and resources should be moved from closets, storage bins, or cabinets and placed in this zone. Provide anchor charts with key ideas and strategies, flashcards, study notes, key people in the field, timelines, and a variety of print materials. Upgrade your word wall by adding visuals and real objects. Organize vocabulary alphabetically or by concept or story — the key is to provide context for each term. Define the zone with a header and comfortable seating.
ZONE 3 – Collaborate
A collaborative zone serves multiple purposes. It reminds students that everyone is working toward common goals. It provides time to discuss what was learned, make connections, pose questions, present other perspectives, and engage in reflection. These discussions are an opportunity for you to evaluate progress, clarify information, address misconceptions, and plan ahead. At the start of the year, you will lead the discussions, then transition toward having students open, facilitate, and close their meetings. It is helpful to define the zone and include the meeting time in your schedule. You can use an area rug to anchor the space and give several students a place to sit. Other students can remain standing or bring in their chairs.
ZONE 4 – Gather
The gather zone houses all those items that spark imagination and bring a classroom to life. These include arts and crafts materials, recorders, cameras, music makers, games, puzzles, and fun books and magazines. Share samples of different projects so that students have a jumping off point. You can harness this creativity by giving the students a central concept to explore. Have them draw what they see, list observations, and write down their questions.
ZONE 5 – Reflect
Sharing the classroom space with 20 or more kids isn’t always easy. Some students naturally prefer to work alone, while others only need a quiet zone to catch up on work, study, read, write, take a test, or reflect. Some lounge seating or a spare table and chairs in the corner of your room can be used to define the zone. If possible, provide some earphones to help filter out classroom noise. If needed, use study carrels to block visual distractions.
ZONE 6 – Share
Every classroom needs a sharing zone and, like the collaborative zone, it serves multiple purposes. It helps students connect the dots from one lesson to the next and gives them a space to share what they heard, experienced, or learned that might differ from one student to the next. These discussions are an opportunity for you to evaluate progress, clarify information, address misconceptions, and plan ahead. In the same fashion as the collaborative zone, the idea is to start out leading students in their discussions before letting them facilitate and share on their own. That’s why it’s helpful to define the zone and include the meeting time in your schedule.