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Back-to-School Shopping for the 21st Century Classroom

Back-to-School Shopping for the 21st Century Classroom

Classrooms in the 21st century look and perform differently than their predecessors. A lot of those differences stem from technology, but some of them are due to teachers implementing current knowledge and understanding about how learning can be optimized.

You may think you need thousands of dollars of new equipment and furniture to accomplish these ideals in your classroom, but with a few smart purchases during the back-to-school period, you too can broaden your students’ learning and make your classroom run more efficiently.

Movable furnishings

Both group learning and classroom rearrangement have been proven to improve student success. The problem is that traditional desks take up a lot of space, and they are unwieldy to move, so teachers are reluctant to give students much freedom to move around.

You may have seen plastic or felt casters at the hardware store. They stick to the bottom of table and chair legs to help them slide across the floor. Take a look at them, and see if they can help your tables and desks move with minimal effort.

You can also invest in cushions and pillows from the thrift store to help students find comfort while sitting on the floor. They are obviously easy to move, and they will make your classroom a much more inviting space.

Power, power, power

Whenever you’ve visited an airport, you may have seen people crowded around the few available outlets like electricity nomads, charging their devices. Classrooms often look the same, with the added detriment of distracting student learning. Facilitating charging is a huge step in widespread device usage in schools. Help out the cause by checking out your discount stores for cheap extension cords, surge protectors, and power splitters that can help bring power to the places in your room that have previously been dark.

Let there be light

We’re starting to better understand what harsh lighting does to a student’s brain. Lighting schemes are improving as LED bulbs gain more traction against fluorescent bulbs, but any kind of exposed lighting is not ideal for the human mind. A few lamps (plugged into your new power-strip layout and bought used from thrift shops) can give your students’ brains the subtle differences in brightness that help them stay engaged.

Window markers 

Do you suffer from a lack of chalkboard or markerboard space but enjoy a decent amount of windows? Would your students’ collaborations benefit from the ability to share ideas in places other than the front of the room? Check out washable window markers. You may find you and your students using them more than dry-erase markers (they are different, so don’t get confused—you could damage your windows). 

Looking for more back-to -school resources? Check out the back-to-school tag on our blog!