The 21st Century Classroom Environment

“The things surrounding you in your home (classroom) serve as subliminal reminders of who you (we) are. They will continue to direct you towards old patterns of behavior. Subconscious beliefs are generally so deep-seated that one is not aware of them. ” By Denise Linn, Feng Shui for the Soul

The more I keep preaching about how our teaching needs to change to fit our learners needs, the more I realize so does our classroom layout. For the last few years, teachers have started to change their seating arrangements so the classroom is not rows of desks but small groups of  desks together but I think we need to change it beyond that. I did not come to the realization alone but actually from a  second year teacher who I mentor; which proves how much we all can teach each other no matter how long we have been teaching. Thanks @Jenn_TeachLearn and her class @MissBrinnsClass. (Many of the below photos’ are from her room.) Through our conversations, reading articles and blogs I have come to realize I believe students need an environment that is organized, stimulating, and comfortable in order to learn effectively. I think classrooms and media centers need to be more like Paneras or book stores, where there are several different areas you can sit; from tables, to booths to couches and chairs. Creating such a classroom entails arranging a practical layout and supplying various materials/supplies. This layout  promotes students to have a sense of ownership along with an easier way for students to communicate and collaborate with each other.  Below are a few classroom photos’ from my school who have their rooms set up this way.


Tables with yoga balls and chairs so students have choice of what works for them.


Lighting is important. Using more natural light with soft light from lamps helps make the room feel more welcoming then the harsh  fluorescent lights most classrooms have.


Having different ‘nooks’ and areas for students to choice what is most comfortable for them to learn helps promote ownership of the students learning.


Letting students bring their own devices allows for students to have more of an authentic learning experience and letting them chose where they want to work.


Having items to share adds a calming effect to the classroom. Brining the outdoors in or an outside learning classroom is great for student learning.

Other articles and blog posts about changing the classroom set up:

Redesigning the 21st Century Classroom

21st Learning Environments 

The 21st Century Classroom Demonstrates Model Learning Environment 

Designing the 21st Century K12 Classroom

Creativity Thrives in the Outdoor Classroom

6 ingredients for the 21st Century Classroom

The School Supply Addict – Room Set Up

The Project Approach – Classroom as a Learning Environment 

Feng Shui Your Classroom For a Academic Success 

6 thoughts on “The 21st Century Classroom Environment”

  1. Great ideas! My district unfortunately has some policies against alternate lighting (boo!), but there are lots of things in your post than can help students feel more at home. Thanks for including the photos and the other links as well.

  2. Where were the angled green tabletop desks purchased? I have looked for those everywhere. I have stability balls and I would really like to get those. Thank you for any help!

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