Wow, what can we say! This past summer we decided to start a learning space design challenge on ClassroomCribs.com to highlight all of the amazing “cribs” that you have designed for students.
Instead of just “aesthetics” we focused this challenge on brain-friendly learning spaces that promoted deep learning and engagement through design.
And we were blown away by the response!
Over 4,000 educators have joined our Classroom Cribs learning community and many of you sent in videos of your learning space as part of the challenge.
Together, Erin Klein, Ben Gilpin, Tom Murray, and myself watched all of the challenge entries with a focus on brain-friendly design and non-traditional learning environments.
This month we will be featuring 30 of the learning spaces during our “30 Days of Design” on this blog. Be sure to check out new classrooms every day.
Announcing Our Grand Finalists
Each of our finalists have gone above and beyond in designing their learning spaces. Their classrooms are an inspiration to each of us and focus on using a brain-friendly approach.
Our four finalists will each receive a $100 gift card to continue improving the design of their classroom.
Here are the finalists! Congratulations!
Mary Wever, 3rd Grade Teacher
I moved to a new grade level and building this year. With the change, I did a lot of research about how environment affects learning so I could design a flexible, comfortable, calm learning space that is conducive to everyone’s learning styles. I tried to incorporate a neutral color scheme, flexible seating spaces, and optimal storage while also thinking about the importance of student choice in their learning. I love my new space, and I hope you do too!
I am proud to call Whitehills Elementary School in East Lansing, Michigan my new home. In addition to teaching a great group of 3rd graders, I am also an instructor in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) program at MSU and a Teacher Consultant for the Red Cedar Writing Project. My husband Brad and I have 3 boys who keep us busy carting them to all their after-school activities.
Professional Website: www.mrswever.weebly.com
Breanna Davey, 4th Grade Teacher
My name is Breanna Davey and this is my 8th year teaching. I’m a famous baker’s daughter (we won MLive’s contest for “Michigan’s Best Donut” this year). I began teaching high school Spanish and this is my 5th year in the elementary. Fourth grade feels like home! I love working on my new home with my husband, a summer hobby of senior photography, and live on coffee!
I’ve reworked my square-shaped room this year to create many small nooks for student collaboration and cozy reading spots. I’ve used a combination of L-shaped furniture arrangements to create more corners as well as a variety of seating. Organization was a key goal this year as well, things are labeled clearly for students so that they know where things are and where things should be returned. Lamps, plants, and calming colors were also key part of the plan!
Jennifer Ward – HS English Teacher
My high school classroom, like my teaching, has undergone quite a few changes recently. As I have incorporated aspects of flipped learning and passion-based learning into my curriculum, I needed a classroom space that would accommodate movement, choice, and self-directed learning. So, this summer I ditched my teacher’s desk in favor of a standing work station, rearranged the desks into learning communities, added pillows, storage ottomans, and rugs for a more comfortable reading/break-out area, and made sure that students had easy access to what they would need to connect and collaborate in class by making supplies and multiple outlets accessible.
“Picture the quirky, eccentric English teacher – you know the one who would jump up and down excitedly talking about the psychoanalytic interpretations of a text or gesticulate wildly about the double entendres found in a line of poetry – and you’ve got Ms. Jennifer Ward, high school English teacher and technology enthusiast. And that interest in the connection between teaching writing and technology has earned her a string of abbreviations, including GCT, NWP Fellow through the PA Writing and Literature Project, PBWorks Certified Teacher and Mentor, as well as being active in NCTE, PCTELA, the Flipped Learning Network, EdcampPhilly and founder of EdcampDelco. And when not in front of a class or a computer, Jen’s either in front of her sewing machine or got a glue gun in hand.”
About Me: http://about.me/jenniferward
DeAnna Struck – 2nd Grade Teacher
As I redesigned my classroom, my main goal was to create flexible learning spaces and allow for easy collaboration. I moved from traditional desks to tables to inspire students to share and allow for group problem solving.
I have been teaching for the past 16 years in a variety of roles. I have worked as a Literacy Coach, tutor, RTI intstructor, and now currently a second grade classroom teacher. I strive to create a classroom full of collaboration, sharing, and establishing a positive learning environment. Integrating technology into every subject is a personal goal to engage students and connect them to the world.