How to Furnish Classroom Learning Zones

How to Furnish Classroom Learning Zones

Author: Dr. Christina Counts

We recently posted a blog about creating classroom learning zones to promote engagement and meet the diverse needs of students. Creating organized zones for students to engage with different learning environments and types of content can support a wide variety of teaching and learning approaches, as well as student voice and choice.

Once you’ve established learning zones to meet your classroom needs, the next step is to choose the furnishings for these spaces. Furnishings should support the function of each classroom zone and are an important part of maintaining student and teacher engagement in this style of learning space.

Here are four ideas for furnishing classroom learning zones:

  1. Utilize casters for mobility and adaptability

Furniture pieces with casters have instant and easy mobility, enabling a multifunctional and adaptable space. Chairs with casters can be rolled easily to one space or table for group activities, and tables with casters can be rolled together or apart to support individual and collaborative work. These furniture pieces also allow for rearrangement of the direction of the learning space in order to focus students’ attention on different activities, from lectures to individual and collaborative tasks.

  1. Implement a variety of different furnishings of the same category

Incorporating a variety of different furnishings of the same category can help improve student voice and choice, keeping students comfortable and engaged while they learn. Offering café height tables and standard tables in a classroom and a variety of structured and soft seating options enables students to select a space of their preference for their learning. Similarly to how you may have a favorite spot to sit and read at home, students may have a specific desk type and seating (or standing) orientation in which they feel the most comfortable and productive.

  1. Reconsider the traditional teacher desk set-up

Traditionally, teacher desks are large and very stationary within the classroom design. These very bulky and specifically shaped teacher workspaces typically only fit in a few places in the classroom, making it challenging to switch up the classroom design around it. Consider saying goodbye to this traditional design, and instead implement mobile and versatile teacher desks that are adaptable to different classroom learning zone layouts.

  1. Design to create multiple focal points in the room

Integrating multiple focal points into classroom design supports learning zones and supports the development of a student-centered space. One way to ensure this is by utilizing all of the walls and corners of the classroom for unique purposes: One area for student presentations, one area focused on a projector or whiteboard, one area designed for collaborative group interactions, and even an area created for peaceful individual activities like reading or studying.

Properly furnishing your classroom learning zones ensures these learning spaces will be able to meet their function while keeping students and teachers engaged and productive. When designing a classroom with learning zones, consider these furnishing options for effective and efficient learning spaces.

Dr. Christina Counts, VP of Strategy and Development for MiEN Environments, is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces to modern engaging learning environments. Dr. Counts has worked in education for over 17 years with experience as a classroom teacher, district instructional leader, school administrator, and digital and innovative learning designer. In her most recent position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible, collaborative, & student-centered learning space.  She holds a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership, National Board-certified, and Google & Apple certified. Dr. Counts envisions a learning space in which educators are empowered to transform education through design, technology and innovative instructional pedagogy to create learners ready for any future!