This Reaction Says It All!
We just wrapped up another Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition! My team and I had so much fun transforming Layla’s classroom into an interactive art gallery, full of intentional and inspirational components.
Layla Helwa teaches African American studies at Mastery Charter School n Philadelphia, PA. From the first conversation I had with Layla, I was in complete awe of this incredible human. I knew that she deserved a classroom that is as beautiful as her soul. So, I immediately started planning.
Interactive Art Gallery for the Win!
I wanted social justice and empowerment to be a large focus of this classroom. So, I started by collecting as many pieces of art that I could! I wanted art that made a statement, engaged the viewer, and promoted unity, equality and representation.
In order to make this gallery interactive, we attached a QR code to each print. The QRs each link to a famous speech, poem, article, etc that is important to African American History. With more than 50 curated pieces of art throughout the room, students are surrounded by opportunities to learn more about African American History. This is a great way to make the posters, prints and components of your classroom interactive and intentional!
The art prints were collected from the following artists: Fab Feminist Art – Lanre Studio – Bee Joy Art – April State Designs – Godly Gorgeous – Bifocal Graphics – Maese Art by Eileen Jiminez – Shannon Anderson Design – Art with Ethics – The Soho Girl – Amplifier Art
The gold frames were found on Amazon and various thrift stores!
Creating Flexible and Open Seating
As I am sure most of you know, I am a big promoter of flexible seating in classrooms. Not only does flexible seating promote student choice and responsibility, but it also helps create a sense of community in your classroom. So, of course, I wanted to include flexible seating elements in Layla’s classroom!
We were so lucky that Hertz Furniture offered to donate these amazing pieces of Academia Furniture! Adding standing tables and interchangeable whiteboard desks was a game changer for this room! Students now have the opportunity to work in a position that they are most comfortable and focused. These pieces of furniture are easily moveable. They are great for working with small groups, partners and more!
I also added a couch, coffee table and two lounge chairs from Wayfair to the “library” area of the classroom. Chairs can be pulled up and this area is the perfect spot for a class meeting or small group discussion. This stunning rug is from World Market.
Family and friends (and followers!!!) generously donated new books for Layla’s classroom library! THANK YOU! We displayed these books throughout the room and also on these incredible hanging bookshelves by Agustav Furniture.
I like to include a few opportunities for mental health and self-esteem growth in classrooms, too! The first way is with a “Mirror Talk.” This is a growth mindset and self-esteem activity that allows students to recognize their strengths and acknowledge their ability to take action. The second is the “Take What You Need” interactive activity that is seen to the left of the classroom door. This activity allows students to take a positive message from the board when they need it. Then, they can add their own positive message back to the board for others to benefit from.
Make a Statement with Wall Paper
This statement wall completely brought the room together!! Callie Garp from Fab Feminist Art designed this GORGEOUS print for us and Carter and Main made it into removable wallpaper. Removable wallpaper is a great way to add a statement to a room. It really packs and punch and can be removed without damaging the wall itself.
In this room, we replaced the floors, painted the walls, assembled the furniture and then, we applied the wallpaper last. I have to be honest, the room was not complete without it. Once we got this final piece of art up on the walls, this room was finished. It was completely transformed and I could not be more proud of what we created!
And That’s That!
Now, Layla and her students can call this Interactive Art Gallery with a social justice spin their
Below is a full list of the items we used for this Makeover:
Academia Standing Desks and Chairs, Dry Erase Student Desks and Chairs- Hertz Furniture
Whiteboard- Ghent Products
Hanging Bookshelves- Agustav Furniture
Standing Bookshelves, Glass and Gold Side Table- Target
Rug: World Market
Pom Garlands: Queen P Handmade
Couch & Leather Chairs- Wayfair
Various Frames- Amazon, Thrift stores
Take What You Need, Give What You Can Interactive Bulletin Board- The SuperHERO Teacher at Teachers Pay Teachers
Mirror Talk Growth Mindset and Self Esteem Interactive Display- The SuperHERO Teacher at Teachers Pay Teachers