Function and Chaos

What drives the setup of my room?  What inspires the decorations?  Why do I do what I do?  The simple answer; my students.

I change the room arrangement depending on the activity we are doing.  It might be setup in large groups, inner and outer circles, rows (my least favorite because I can’t see all of my students).  They way I have it setup in the picture is my go to setup.  This setup allows for students to work independently or collaborate in small groups easily.  It also works in my room to give extra space for students to move around and for me to move around.  I like having the quick access to each student.


As for my room decor, I try to make it useful to the students.  The bulletin board is divided in half.  One side for my World Geography class and the other for the Interdisciplinary class, and they change with each unit.  I also use an alphabetized word wall.  Students use this wall as a reference during discussions and writing assignments.  Another area of my room is devoted to selfies and blogs. I use the selfies for their ticket out.  Students write down their thought for the day and put it on their selfie, then at the end of the week they gather their thoughts from the selfie and blog.


I try hard to keep the room organized and useful for the students.  The one area that I have given up on is my area.  Every year I set goals to keep my area neat and organized but sadly I have never accomplished that goal.  I am afraid to admit that the image below was taken on a clean day for my space.

I would love to experiment with some of the untraditional or new-wave seating and tables that students could use standing.  I would also like to bring in stools and lawn chairs for extra seating.  What advice would I give someone just starting….. The room should be designed for the students.

5 thoughts on “Function and Chaos

  1. It is great how you have set up an orderly as well as flexible environment for your students.
    I came across an article a few years back written by David Thornburg called “Campfires in Cyberspace” and it inspired myself and others into how we set up rooms for student learning and professional learning for teachers. Basically he 4 spaces: 1. the campfire where you learn from the story of others, e.g. the expert, lecture area. 2. waterhole is where more informal conversations take place. 3. The cave is for silent work and self refection. 4 is Life where the skills learned are applied. You might like to explore the idea.

  2. Hi Karen

    I’m sharing some of the posts from Week 2 prompt on Twitter. Do you have a Twitter username that I can use for sharing your post?


  3. Your choices are so intentional and so student-driven — ever keeping the end goal in mind. I love how you’ve organized your word wall to circle the room along the ceiling so that it can easily grow over the year and be utilized by students. Thanks for sharing awesome strategies that also engage students and motivate them to be involved in their own education.

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