Classroom ideas and tricks from Pre-K to Higher Ed that will spice up your teaching and motivate your students | Bright Classroom Ideas Classroom Ideas. Are schools killing students’ creativity? In his famous TED talk, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’, celebrated author and educator Sir Ken Robinson makes this point exactly. He argues that schools prime students for academic success, showing little tolerance for mistakes. As a result, most students lose their capacity of being prepared to be wrong; because they become frightened of being wrong. And if you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original. If you are not prepared to undergo the trial-and-error process, you will never be creative.
Between the pressure of keeping up with the school curriculum, meeting with parents and running daily classes, it can be hard to make time for creativity in the classroom.
With such little time to spare, it can be easy to think – does it really make a difference? The short answer is: absolutely. Creative classrooms don’t just look different, they feel different. They provide an environment where students are more likely to express their ideas, think outside the box, challenge problems with innovative solutions and most importantly – learn faster and more effectively. Here at Canva we speak to hundreds of schools every day and are constantly amazed by the ways they incorporate creative thinking and learning into their classrooms.
To help share some of these lessons, we put together this list of 19 unique ways to add more color, creativity and passion to your classroom. 01. Make room for visual reflection Reflective activities provide students with an opportunity to absorb information more deeply – enhancing their creative and contextual understanding of the content.
When reflective learning exercises are displayed visually in the classroom, they become of benefit not only to those who share them, but to every student in your class. This board of is one example of this principle in action.
By encouraging students to pin their learnings or “shifted mindsets” to the board, this provides a great opportunity for guided reflection.
Even outside of the classroom this technique is well as a creative learning technique. is the bulletin board from a TEDxSummit. Try this technique today using the and templates you’ll find below.
Adjust them to your liking, pin them on the wall and let us know how it goes. 02. Integrate more hands-on learning Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Hands-on learning is a great way to apply a creative twist to traditional course content and engage students on a deeper level. Try this template on Canva.
Here are three ideas for inspiration: • English: Rather than asking students to read class texts at home, incorporate a group reading session into each class. Ensure that every student is selected as the daily reader at least once.
• Media/design: If students are learning about a “real world application” wherever possible skip the theory and get them to dive into the real thing. For example, rather than teaching students about the basics of web design in a media class, encourage them to create a site for something they’re passionate about.
If your students are fashion addicts, our will put them to work in a breeze. In Canva, you can export your presentation as an interactive website in 2 clicks. • Maths: Taken from of excellent practical maths ideas, one way to teach velocity is to ask students to build paper airplanes and use calculations to predict their speed.
What better way to iterate on their calculations by testing them out in real life? 03. Keep your classroom layout flexible Within your school term, your students will be working between group projects, completing solo assessments, listening to presentations as well as many other activities. In order to keep the creativity flowing between these learning set ups, the key is to keep your classroom layout adaptable and allow it to be easily reorganized.
provides an interesting solution to support this flexibility while still maintaining an area for focus. All four layouts are designing for either group or independent work, but they all have an interesting common element: a group table. This table would allow students to meet on a need basis without disruptions other students in the class. Feel free to experiment with different arrangements, but always make sure that your classroom is setup to accommodate for a range of learning activities and work styles.
04. Introduce unconventional learning materials Text books and timeless lesson plans are a great staple in your teacher tool kit, but introducing more unconventional learning materials can help your students think outside the box and engage more deeply with the lesson.
Get inspiration from the ideas below, or check out of interesting ideas you can start using today. • Ted talks: Leaders and role models play an important role in the creative development of your students. What better way to bring some of the world’s most inspiring leaders right into your classroom than by incorporating TED talks into your curriculum.
On the TED website you’ll find on a range of topics – making them suitable for all classes. • Innovative lesson plans: In the world of the Internet and social media, teaching visual communication is as important as any other type of literacy. Graphic design platform Canva has created on various topics which enhance students understanding of a topic through visual communication on their platform. • Podcasts: Think of just about any subject or topic and chances are there’ll be a podcast covering it.
As a starting point, browse through this list of filled with ideas and inspiration for lesson plans. 05. Encourage discussion Avoiding chatter and meaningless conversation can be a difficult task as a teacher. But on the other hand, channeling meaningful discussions can provide students with an arena to express new ideas and voice their opinions.
Some other reasons why discussion can be productive include: • It gets students thinking more critically about the material. • It challenges them to listen to other students’ opinions and think critically about their contributions and ideas. • It gives them the opportunity to challenge each other intelligently and build off of each other’s ideas. This could take the shape of a reflective session 10 minutes before the end of a session, or by asking one member of a group to present their ideas to the class.
Download the below and place it in your classroom to help guide meaningful conversation: 06. Replace hierarchy with collaborative learning spaces Collaborative working spaces help students see themselves as co-constructors of knowledge, rather than “subjects” of teachers.
Without hierarchical front to back row seating, every seat is the best seat in the class, and students are always at the center of learning. Maintain structure in less traditional ways by creating “zones” for different parts of the learning process, such as reflection and brainstorming. For ideas and inspiration for your classroom, watch the video as several teachers who have tried this mode of learning share their challenges and triumphs.
07. Encourage more color Color in the classroom doesn’t only need to be for early primary school. Challenge yourself to use color in creative and unconventional ways, such as displaying inspiration posters or creating themed “mood” corners. As you can see in the examples below, anyone can get creative, even when it comes to or . Color can also be an incredibly powerful tool to aid students with absorbing information and learning new content.
Encourage your students to use more color as a staple when taking notes. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they start absorbing new information. 08. Don’t limit assignments to one format Allowing students to choose the format of their own assignments allows them to explore the task using a format they enjoy the most, making them more naturally inclined to draw on their creativity.
For example, imagine students were required to read the book “No Sugar” as part of a social studies curriculum. Rather than taking the typical approach of writing an essay, provide students with a range of formats they can use to explore the concept of racism and social acceptance, such as a presentation, documentary or speech. Getting your students to create a poster on sensible topics can be helpful to open a discussion.
Try this . Ask your students to create a menu for a special occasion. Working on both the content and the design makes the assignment more entertaining (and instructive). Have a go with this . Keep your students happy by speaking their language. Add some flair to your worksheets using this . Want them to learn astronomy? Get them to create an infographic about planets like this .
09. Incorporate humour into your classroom Humour is an important part of creating a positive environment in which creativity can flourish. Draw on pop culture references, use puns and find relevant jokes that make light of the learning process.
If you want to decorate your Arts or English classroom, get a head start with these two templates: and . In this , Laura Davis also talks about how you can use humour in a team building environment to encourage students to laugh with each other, not at each other, and make light of small failures.
10. Rewards & recognition are key to motivating your students Having achievements recognized is an important part of the creative learning process. Rewarding achievement visually in your classroom gives students an incentive to continue doing great work as well as gaining a sense of pride.
Give it a go with our . 11. Film a classroom video diary A key creativity mindset is that the learning process is never ending. Help students look retrospectively on their own learning processes by filming a video diary throughout the course or year. Some ideas for questions you could ask your students in the video are: • What are you most excited about right now?
• What seems like the most challenging thing you need to do right now? • Who has helped you learn something this week? This also adds an emotional element to the process – allowing them to become more invested and connected with their learning journey. 12. Visualize goals with timelines Empowering students to set their own goals is an incredible motivator.
Goals can be decided on a project or term basis and should always be achievable. By giving students a clear vision for where they want their learning to take them, they become naturally more inclined to find creative solutions to get them there. 13. Pin up motivational posters Using inspiration quotes and posters around your classroom is a great way encourage your students to unleash their creative potential. Browse this awesome list of and print them out for your classroom today, or simply edit one of the templates below: or .
14. Team building exercises The most important thing about team building exercises is that there aren’t right or wrong answers – just strategies. Cooperative games allow students to work together to make decisions based on creative thinking, communication, and collaboration. Throughout the process, students build better relationships with other team members as they struggle, deal with failure, and eventually work to master the problem presented. Check out of 10 team building games that can be used for students of all ages.
15. Use design thinking The process is a framework for creativity and innovation taught in schools and universities all around the world. It allows students to break down complex problems based on various stages. Try incorporating design thinking into any project or exercise. Some useful points of reflection after the exercise might be to ask students where the biggest challenges or difficulties were, and at what point they achieved the most process or success.
Encouraging students to think critically about their work enhances their creative thinking abilities, making them ready to understand and solve complex problems later in life. 16. Explore different cultures. Developing students’ ability to consider multiple perspectives is an important part of thinking outside the box.
Some ideas to incorporate cultural awareness into your classroom are: • Label things in your classroom in different language. • Celebrate different cultural holidays and the original behind them. • Provide reading materials that explain cultural differences.
If you’re interested in exploring this idea further, this should be your first stop. 17. Pair struggling learners with students who excel Empowering creativity through leadership is an extremely effective learning strategy. For students who have mastered the content, being tasked with teaching a peer encourages them to come up with creative ways to reframe the content. 18. Challenge advanced students with extension projects Allowing advanced students to participate in more creative extension projects helps them to: • Learn at faster rates.
• Find, solve and act on problems more readily. • Manipulate abstract ideas and make connections to an advanced degree. Extension tasks are more open ended than regular tasks, meaning the project task sheet will include the goal, but relies of the students’ creative and critical thinking ability to come up with a process. Consider this example from the New South Wales (Australia) curriculum: Students know what they need to achieve, but by allowing them the freedom to manage their own timeline, decide on their book genre, and essentially self publish a book, the sense of achievement and creative reward for students who complete the task is immense.
19. Celebrate wins with ceremonies Allowing students to feel a great pride in their achievements will encourage them to learn faster and more rigorously in the future. Rather than simply use report cards or certificates to celebrate their wins, allow students to plan a victory ceremony when they plan their goals.
Think outside the box – you could snap a crazy photo and in a special awards section, try a Greek style smashing of the plates ritual, a dress up or anything in between. Make your classroom more creative today.
The classroom is the centre of every student’s learning journey. Ensuring that it is brimming with creativity – both physically and through the activities taught in it – is one of the many privileges of being a teacher.
best classroom setup ideas - 36 Tips and Resource for the Ultimate Classroom Set Up
An effective elementary classroom layout is the key to keeping your community on track – even if the layout changes weekly.
Groups, pods, clusters, rows… I've tried them all. And you know what? There is no “right” answer to classroom layout. Any and all combinations should be employed by the teacher who is keeping on top of classroom management. The physical arrangement of your room has consequences for how your students learn, interact, and behave. Every classroom is a little bit different. Individualizing your classroom setup You see, individualization doesn't apply only to curriculum and instruction. It applies to the needs of the child, no matter what those need are.
Just as some children need a particular approach to learning, some students need a particular approach to seating. And, just as the child will grow and change in his academic needs as the year progresses, his seating arrangement needs will change, as well.
Be flexible and always err on the side of what works rather than what you or another teacher believes is an ideal classroom set-up.
The key point is this: Effective teachers prioritize delivery of instruction and arrange the rest of the room around that. Thus, you won’t get a carved-in-stone prescription from me: “Thou shalt do things MY way!” Rather, I’ll provide some thoughtful insights to help you plan out the best space for your students and your style of teaching.
The overall plan When it comes to space planning, there are a few major areas of concern in your classroom: Teaching and Learning. This is, of course, the number one consideration. The Physical Flow… or how to “get around.” This becomes very important when you have a couple dozen children in one room who are all trying to take off coats, empty backpacks, hand in papers, move to and from the front of the room, etc.
Without forethought, you can lose precious minutes during transitions. Accessibility of Supplies and Other Learning Materials. You don’t want a long line at the pencil sharpener when kids are supposed to be quietly completing worksheets. Curriculum Considerations. There are times when your classroom must be arranged in a way that facilitates work groups – conducting science experiments, for example.
Behavior Space. Sometimes a student will need to have her desk a little more separated from the others in order to manage her own behavior. () Personal Space, otherwise known at as “nooks and crannies.” These are areas that allow children to obtain a small amount of separation during silent reading or small-group work. These “extra” spaces also serve another important function: They provide spots where a kid can go to reset his approach to learning.
Sometimes a small location change is all that is needed for a student to start getting something done. Balancing student needs Your overall floor plan will have to balance all of these needs. Depending upon the space you have available, it’s usually difficult to address all of them completely at the same time, so you will be constantly prioritizing.
The best guidelines for creating your ideal classroom set-up are: • Be thoughtful • Be flexible and open to change • Be child-centered It’s all about effective learning.
You have to put on your elementary-student glasses and consider anything you do from their perspective. By the way, copying other teachers is totally okay. There will be other rooms in the building that have the same physical layout as yours; figure out what’s working or not working for your peers. TIP: If you are student-teaching, then check out as many room layouts as you can and sketch diagrams with notes. Focusing on learning Remember that the first need we are meeting with is “teaching and learning.” No matter what arrangement you create, you must maintain a gathering spot for all the kids to come forward when you need to teach or read with no distractions.
This is an area where all attention is on you, and it’s critical for effective learning and creating a sense of community. The focal point of an effective classroom is based upon the community learning together. And together means gathered. I only “teach” (as in “deliver a lesson”) when children are gathered in my instructional focus area. That is the only way I've found to be certain that all students are absorbing concepts.
In my experience, delivering a lesson is not something that can effectively occur when the children are dispersed throughout the room at their desks. This applies to kindergarten through sixth grade – and possibly beyond! At some point, growth and social development mean that children reach an age where it's not a good idea to pack them closely together on the floor when you are teaching.
This is not true for elementary children, however. They like being squished in together (at least most do), and it is critical to get them close to you so you can observe their reactions while teaching. It's a plus that having them gathered about you also means that they are not able to dig through their desks to find distractions.
Desks are where children sit to apply the knowledge they’ve learned and muddle through reinforcement problems while the teacher circulates to assist. So, with that understanding, let's consider what an effective classroom focal point looks like. Video tips: classroom setup ideas Elementary Classroom Setup and Organization An effective focal point When it comes to teaching, there is only one person at the center of focus: you. The focal point in most classrooms will center on a teacher's primary instructional-delivery method.
In my room, that's my interactive whiteboard. In your room, it may be a screen for a document camera or a regular whiteboard. It may vary by grade level, as well. No matter how your room is laid out, however, your main instructional area must contain: • No extraneous, distracting items • Specific resources for the curriculum being delivered • Everything you and the kids need to get the job done, because… Focus requires comfort and ease of learning An instructional focus area should also be designed with the comfort and attention of the children in mind; they're going to be gathered in that area frequently.
First and foremost, kids must be able to see, as well as hear. Horseshoe plus groups My default desk arrangement – a horseshoe centered on my interactive whiteboard with a couple of outlying pods of desks – defines the learning space by putting a border around it. It’s one of the reasons why I'm a huge fan of the horseshoe – it has worked out so well for me after trying many, many options.
Video tips: seating that meets all students' needs Student Desk Setup If a horseshoe can't work in your room, figure out how to define your gathering space with something solid that kids can't squirm underneath, like they can with a wide-open table.
Define your space with: • One or two walls (I have used a corner of the room for gathering) • Bookshelves (make sure they won’t move or tip if leaned upon) • Cabinets • Desks (open underneath but with the chairs pushed in; they are better than tables) Carpet areas are almost a must for defining a focal point!
I am always on the lookout for rugs with clearance tags. I replace my rugs every other year because they get so much traffic and are difficult to clean. TIP: Get a grass-green carpet if you want to be able to tell your students to “go sit in the front yard” like I do!
Supercharging your focal point It’s all about the students paying attention, right? Having all of the children on the floor is common and effective, but placing students at two heights is even more effective – like in a stadium-style movie theater, everyone can see what's going on.
So, if you can swing them: benches. You will see an almost immediate increase in engagement. I have three benches inside my horseshoe of desks. One of mine came from my school, and two I bought from Amazon (they fold up). One of the great benefits to having a bench-lined horseshoe is that I can plunk down right in front of any of the desks in the front row to assist and encourage students.
It is so much nicer than wedging between two students or kneeling down (ouch!) next to them. “But… I can't swing benches!” I know, and I sympathize. When I first started, benches weren’t just lying around the school unused, and I didn't have the money to buy my own. Just keep them in mind for the future; even one six-foot bench will get some of your kids’ heads up a level and improve the experience for all of them.
Even without benches, the horseshoe of desks comes to the rescue, at least a little. Some students can sit at their desks, and others can sit on the carpet. Of course, you will have to set expectations that there will be no hands in desks during teaching!
My students rotate from desks to carpet – when you build a trustworthy community, sharing desks is not a problem. No matter what you end up doing, be sure to give your gathering place the attention it needs; it is critically important that every student can see and hear well for maximum engagement.
Your teacher desk I remember some of my teachers in elementary school actually teaching while seated at their desks in the front of the room. Believe me, this is not something you'll see in any elementary classroom in America anymore! So, what's the point of having a teacher desk? I know of many teachers, personally and through online comments, who do not even have a desk.
In the modern classroom, where teachers are on their feet and moving around all day, all you really need is a flat surface of some sort for correcting papers and a place to lock away your personal items. Many make do with a medium-sized table. Another advantage of a table rather than a traditional desk is that it can provide a workspace for small groups if needed. Regardless of whether you use a traditional desk or not, it is best to locate it anywhere except your instructional focal point.
That's why my desk, and the desks of many teachers, are at the back or the side of the room. My best recommendation: arrange everything else about your classroom to maximize student learning, then find a place for your desk.
Your classroom setup: So important to get right since it will pay dividends all year long.
Are schools killing students’ creativity? In his famous TED talk, ‘’, celebrated author and educator Sir Ken Robinson makes this point exactly. He argues that schools prime students for academic success, showing little tolerance for mistakes.
As a result, most students lose their capacity of being prepared to be wrong; because they become frightened of being wrong. And if you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original. If you are not prepared to undergo the trial-and-error process, you will never be creative.
The whole purpose of education is not to produce university professors. Academic ability has come to dominate our view of intelligence, because the whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance. But this system strangles creativity.
Many talented, brilliant, creative students think they're not, because the thing they were good at isn’t valued at school. Companies are run in the same way: by stigmatizing mistakes.
School systems around the world prepare students for the industrial world and follow the same mentality. The result is that they are educating people out of their creative capacities. Ken Robinson stresses that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. The whole world is engulfed in a revolution and university degrees alone are not enough for the modern globalized landscape.
Creativity is no longer seen as just being for artists and musicians. It’s a crucial skill for everybody to master. Creativity in the Modern Classroom But how can we foster a creativity mentality in our everyday routine?
Between the struggle of running daily classes, meeting with parents, and trying to keep up with the school curriculum, it can be nearly impossible sometimes to make room for creativity in the classroom. One cannot help but wonder: does it really matter? Most definitely! Students who are challenged creatively are better problem solvers, better critical thinkers, and better at expressing their ideas.
Creative classrooms look different. They have a flexible layout, allowing more hands-on learning. They encourage collaboration and communication, pairing strong with struggling students. Our growing list of classroom ideas aims to offer creative inspiration to both novice and experienced teachers. Our aim is to suggest practical and adaptable tools for use in everyday classroom life, and to support teachers in planning and delivering first rate lessons. This list will provide fresh ideas and a back-up for emergencies for a range of subjects and classroom needs.
It will also save teachers hours of preparation and internet searching. With activities ranging from Kindergarten to Higher Education we hope that you will never be stuck for ideas.
Pre-School, Pre-K, Kindergarten • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Primary • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Secondary • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Higher Ed • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Homeschooling • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Adults • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Special Education • • • • • • • • • • • • Foreign Languages • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Holidays and Special Days • • • • • • • • • • • Submit your own creative classroom ideas to email@example.com.
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Classroom Desk Arrangements for Best Behavior