Outfitting Your Perfect Classroom
The new school year is here, and parents and teachers of school-aged children are well aware how much classrooms have changed over the years. Today’s technologically-advanced classrooms are designed to keep students actively engaged and performing at their highest level.
In a perfectly outfitted space, there’s room to put attention toward helping each student achieve their personal best. But, in order to do so, classrooms must be flexible and responsive to students' evolving needs.
Given ever-changing circumstances and an ever-increasing understanding of the unique characteristics of a diverse student population, we’ve curated a selection of innovative classroom tools geared towards providing focus, comfort, and functionality to both teachers and their students.
Mobile Standing Desks
Desks serve as the space students spend a majority of their time while in the classroom. According to the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, "in-person classroom seating arrangements affect student learning, motivation, participation, and teacher-student and student-student relationships." Today, many teachers opt to arrange their classroom desks in unique configurations that encourage student interaction.
The ideal student desks should have wheels for easy movement, storage spaces for bags, and charging stations to keep classroom devices powered. Look for an option that has space for books and devices, while maintaining a compact footprint.
Our favorite student desk, the Cruizer XL, raises and lowers to meet each student’s desire to stand or sit throughout the school day. According to a recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Test results indicated that continued use of standing desks was associated with significant improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities.” Standing has also been linked with better behavior, increased attention, and enhanced participation.
Wobble stools, balance balls, and rockers may look to the untrained eye like distractions that create chaotic classrooms. In fact, data on flexible seating vs. traditional fixed seating continues to emerge, showing that students prefer flexible seating options, as they foster a more collaborative and engaging learning environment, improving students’ moods and overall focus.
Kore Kids Junior Wobble Chairs offer an active seating solution to keep students of all ages engaged and comfortable in class.
As shown in a University of Salford study, flexibility is one of seven parameters of classroom design that explain a 16% difference in a student’s academic progress over a year. The other six parameters include light, temperature, air quality, ownership, complexity, and color.
Ultimately, a comfortable and dynamic learning environment that offers "classroom zones" encourages increased focus while minimizing both visual and audio distractions. We recommend using sound-absorbent classroom dividers to create these designated spaces, like the Sound Sponge Quiet Dividers by Today's Classroom.
Creating learning zones that allow focused movement in the classroom means no more relying on rows of desks all facing a single wall-mounted chalkboard. Today’s dynamic classroom environments use mobile dry-erase boards outfitted with features that bring hands-on learning to every corner of the classroom.
The best whiteboards accommodate users of all heights, wheel easily throughout the classroom, and hold an array of markers and supplies for convenient portable storage. The double-sided Stand Steady Mobile Whiteboard offers plenty of magnetic whiteboard space while featuring a sturdy, A-shaped frame that won't tip while in use.
Redesigned AV Carts
Just as students can benefit from mobile desks, teachers perform best with flexible workstations that adjust to their needs. When it comes to premier teacher carts, the Stellar AV Cart is a Stand Steady customer favorite.
This rolling media cart easily moves between classrooms with full-swivel wheels that lock in place when teachers are ready to work, while its built-in UL safety-certified power strip keeps devices safely powered. The customizable pegboard storage keeps supplies in reach while locking cabinet options keep valuable safe and secure. Add a keyboard tray or drop leaf shelving for a teacher cart that adapts to the needs of any classroom.
Parents, teachers, and students know that school can be stressful, and the pressure from a weighted blanket offers a calming presence that can reduce anxiety and increase focus, even in the classroom. As Penn Medicine notes, they can be useful for reducing anxiety for children and adults on the Autism spectrum or those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
There are many great weighted blankets on the market, and we recommend looking for options designed specifically for kids with easy-to-wash fabric. Sivio offers weighted blankets in a variety of sizes and patterns designed to appeal to students of all ages.
Like our day-to-day lives, classrooms across the country have seen a massive uptick in student technology use. Laptops are consistent fixtures in many classrooms, and whether these devices go home at night or stay at the school, they need to be consistently charged and ready-for-use. No matter your class size, a multi-device charging station is a must.
Open charging carts like the Line Leader Reversible Charging Cart feature adjustable shelving and a compact, open-frame design, allowing for easy access for up to 32 laptops, tablets, or Chromebooks at once.
Media carts with locking, ventilated cabinets keep equipment safely stored at night and between classes. To keep up to 30 devices fully charged, organized, and accounted for, we recommend the Line Leader Mobile Charging Cart with locking cabinet.
The best classroom charging stations have full-swivel, locking wheels to transport your devices to any location, padded shelves that protect equipment against less-than-delicate placement, and adjustable shelving that can keep up with ever-changing tech specs.
No matter how comprehensive the school supply list, every classroom needs surplus on hand. Basic tools like pencils, scissors, headphones, and craft supplies inevitably get lost, so having a designated place to store these extra essentials not only keeps classrooms organized, but also minimizes the possibility of supplies going missing, giving both teachers and students peace of mind knowing their necessities are in easy reach. We recommend these 3-Compartment Caddies from Really Good Stuff for easy desktop organization in your classroom.
Safe Cleaning Products
With recent shortages of hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes in our not-so-distant memories, creating storerooms of effective cleaning agents should be a must-have for any school. Traditional chemical cleaning agents can be bulky and exacerbate pre-existing student and staff conditions like asthma and allergies.
We recommend opting for cleaning solutions that are uniquely space-saving and safe to use, like Force of Nature's all-in-one cleaner, deodorizer and EPA registered disinfectant. The cleaning agent utilizes benign ingredients like salt and vinegar to create solutions 99.9% effective against a long list of viruses, including SARS-CoV2, Norovirus, Influenza A, Staph, and MRSA.
Our Verdict: Top Picks = A Top-Notch Classroom
Modern classrooms are differentiated learning environments designed to meet both the needs of individual students and the class as a whole. Outfitting today’s schools with the best flexible classroom tools allows teachers to respond to student’s needs so they can perform at the highest level.