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Your Dream RE Classroom

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by nigiollabhui, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. nigiollabhui

    nigiollabhui New commenter

    HI all,
    I have been talking to my HOCA about the design of my classroom, colours, seating, desks etc. and I have the opportunity to update it and change it a little. Just wondering what ideas people had and what their ideal classroom would be for teaching RE.
    I tend to be on the creative side when teaching and try and include different multiple intelligences and learning styles and also having opportunities for reflections and stilling excercises.

  2. matryoshkadoll

    matryoshkadoll Occasional commenter

    Well my favourite teaching room was when I was training. The RE classrooms had purple chairs, purple curtains and a rainbow across the ceiling in different coloured ribbons. The desks were arranged so that 4 pupils could face each other and they circled the room around the wall. in the centre of the room, there was a centrepiece with silky cloth over top and a few choice artefacts and artificial flowers placed on top. In fact the flowers (in a garland) was draped over. It was lovely. I liked the rainbow effect so much that I hung one on the ceiling in my last school. Unfortunately in my present school, we have just moved into a new build, and we are not allowed to hang anything unless it is on the notice boards.... so no rainbow for me..
  3. nigiollabhui

    nigiollabhui New commenter

    I like the rainbow idea too nice and cheerful and sounds simple to make aswell, will give it a go!

  4. matryoshkadoll

    matryoshkadoll Occasional commenter

    Just make sure your hanging rainbow is secure!! I remember people trying to pull down with the odd paper aeroplane... However after the first few weeks, most realized that this was a concern that was being monitored.
  5. You could put up "The Light of the World" by William Holman Hunt for the visual people. Put that poem (anyone remember it) ending with "my last knock" underneath it to explain the meaning of the picture and for the verbal people.

  6. I'd just like to not teach in 11 different classrooms a week - that would do me![​IMG]
  7. matryoshkadoll

    matryoshkadoll Occasional commenter

    I'll count myself lucky that I have my own room then! I have had to teach in different classrooms before... Real pain in the bum, I agree.

  8. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    people sometimes copy pictures here. How do you do it?

    perhaps it depends on the computer you use - for example this one doesn't format unless you put to make a paragraph. The Light of the World is great - see


    I like to have a section of the wall for each of the major religions - 'sacred pictures' (and I would include the Light of the World here) are in a frieze around the upper part of the wall where they are fairly safe from vandalism and graffiti (not that these would ever happen in our classrooms1
    Then around shoulder level I like to have a frieze of 'best work' (laminated against vandalism and graffiti) interspersed with poems and art-work etc.
    In the entrance area where students queue up before lessons I like 'RE and moral issues in the news' with a section for RE jokes and cartoons....

    If I am in a classroom for more than a term I can cover every available space with informative and inspiring material, much of it created by the students.

    In one such school a new student came into my RE hut (on the fringes of the site where he had not been before.) He stepped into the room and turned to me with round eyes. 'Is this a temple, Miss?' I said, 'No, it's a university!'

    On the one occasion Ofsted made a good comment about my displays which included a homework section, illustrating examples of work which is ok and work which is excellent - and explaining why.

    In my last school we had a big section of a wall devoted to GCSE Christianity, full of illustrated mind-,maps.

    I know the classroom with the ribbons on the ceiling. I also worked in that school. The RE teacher had been there for years and was brilliant. She arranged the chairs around a central focus area and often used this as a source of inspiration for reflective activity - some inspired by Sue Phillips - and inspirational teacher who created the approach called 'Theatre for Learning. I'll put a bit about her on My Resources!!
  9. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    should be 'on one occasion! Freudian slip??
  10. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    That must be a real nightmare. Is there any way you can pressure the SMT to change things in the future?

    I only had a situation a bit like that once - on three floors and across a big playground in another block. It wasn't nearly 11 different rooms but it really wore me down. I was always arriving late, always rushing, always carrying masses of books etc - and always stressed out. It was not a good school regarding behaviour and I actually left due to an incident where I was assaulted - but that is a different matter. The sad thing is I was almost grateful to the lads concerned because it was such a horrible experience teaching in so many rooms.

    It might be worth asking the union for advice if the school ignore your polite and well reasoned approach. I'm sure no other subject would be asked to do this.
  11. nigiollabhui

    nigiollabhui New commenter

    Oh No I hate that. my room was used for other staff members when I was away for maternity leave (for half a term of school time) and returned to work having to teach in lots of different rooms. I hated it, I fought to get it back and managed to do so for this year. You can't set up a good learning environment for students when you are constantly changing rooms and if the classrooms are rooms that others teach in for all their classes then it is difficult to change it even for one lesson. I also made the point that my teaching was not consistently good becuase of the running around and it would impact student's achievement. Your limited on what you can do when you don't have your own base.
    One of the main reasons I want to update is celebrating the fact I got my room back and I appreciate having a fixed classroom a lot more.

  12. nigiollabhui

    nigiollabhui New commenter

    Thanks everyone for the ideas. I think I have got a plan now. I have a shopping list for Ribbons!! and printing the Light of the world. I splashed out and bought a 3 panel window blind of a giant flower as a focal point for stilling excercies etc. and I am thinking of having panels of blackboard paint (B&Q doing pink and blue paint as well as black) around the room for when students are planning or doing revision or group work tasks.
    I am now just trying to convince my SLT link to splash out and get some exam style chairs as room is short on space with the big desks!! wish me luck!
    Just wondering does anybody use Floor Cushions/ Bean bags? if so does it work well for you?
  13. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    a few more thoughts - I love your idea of window-blinds with flowers for a focus for reflection.

    Studies have shown that blue is a calming colour. If you can have the desks and chairs in blue - and perhaps the lower part of the walls in a light shade of blue which links with the chairs and tables, it would be great.

    See if you can have wall speakers (high up - perhaps in the corners at the back of the room) and use music a lot. It makes a great Starter activity (come in quietly, listen to the music, note any lyrics you can hear and think about how they may relate to the topic - or guess the topic from them..)

    Can you have a shelf or cabinet for artefacts?

    If your classroom is a big enough room to arrange seating around a central focus table you can cover this with a cloth and any artefacts which relate to the current topic. Then as a starter the students can draw this and as soon as all are settled, register taken etc you can light a candle on the table and have a brief period of silent reflection focussed on the candle and artefacts - or you could do that for the last five minutes of the lesson, reflecting on all that had been learned about that particular religion/topic.

    I have no experience of using bean bags or cushions in class but have used them in workshops for reflective work. I like the way they encourage a sense of ' and now for something completely different'

    when you get your room sorted, do send us a photo.

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