2 Quick, Inexpensive Ways to Add Collaborative Space to Your Classroom by Kevin Jarrett

2 Quick, Inexpensive Ways to Add Collaborative Space to Your Classroom

 
  • Edutopia

In this era of tight school budgets and limited district resources, the simplest, easiest and cheapest improvements naturally rise to the top of the list. I wanted to share two that have made a big difference in my classroom - our "Whiteboard Wall" and my Z-Rack - in the hopes others might want to try them too.

Our whiteboard wall is literally just that - a giant wall painted floor to ceiling with 'whiteboard' paint, in this case, "IdeaPaint":

(Note: I have heard Draw It Paint is also good.)

I'll be the first to admit that getting this stuff on the wall properly was a real challenge - it sets up quickly and you have to move very fast - and it works best in my experience with a very smooth surface. But, when it's done, you have a natural collaboration space that is flexible, easy to maintain, and looks great too. You can get a kit to do 50 square feet or larger quantities to do bigger spaces. Don't have a wall? You can paint your desks, closets, doors, you name it - and they instantly become collaborative work spaces.

My Z-Rack is an idea I came across in Make Space, the fantastic book on learning spaces by the Stanford d.School. Here's the PDF you need - direct from the book.

I found the base garment rack on eBay for about $65, bought the materials I needed including some ordinary "shower board" at a home goods big box store for less than half that, and in a few hours I had a cool, portable, two-sided whiteboard.

Here are pics from when I put mine together.

These two items have made a huge difference in my classroom. They are student-centered, inexpensive and effective.

What enhancements would you like to make part of your classroom?


This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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