Robbinsdale Area Schools

A look inside a modern classroom

Ask adults of a certain age what their classroom looked like when they were students and they might tell you that it was filled with desks lined up in neat rows with a big, oversized desk in the front of the room for their teacher. They may also say that their teacher lectured the whole hour, made them write on a chalkboard and showed materials using a projector. 

Fast forward to 2022 and invite those same adults into a classroom at Armstrong and they might end up surprised by what they see – not only how the furniture is arranged, but by the way teaching is happening. 

Armstrong High School staff are learning about some of these new ways to teach through Modern Classroom. Robbinsdale Area Schools began learning about these new teaching methods during the pandemic. Interest with staff quickly increased with more than 300 Rdale staff receiving training.

“We are excited for this partnership, which supports a collaboration between students and staff and helps teaching staff focus on the individual needs of each student in their classroom,” said Matt Pletcher, Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction.

Gone are the days of lecturing in the front of a classroom.

Modern Classroom supports a new way of teaching which includes enrichment activities, recorded videos, and one-on-one support with the teacher. This type of teaching allows for various types of instruction for students at different levels of understanding, a self-paced structure and students don’t move forward to the next unit they’ve demonstrated an understanding of the current lessons. 

Jennifer Mcleod, teacher at Armstrong High School, has new classroom materials to support this new way of teaching through Modern Classroom. New additions to the classroom include high top tables, modular desks that fit together in multiple ways, and a whiteboard table. 

“The students were pretty excited,” said Ms. Mcleod. “I didn't tell them it was happening, so the first day was fun for me to watch their reactions as they walked in. They have expressed how much more comfortable it is and how they wish they had more classrooms like it.”

 The furniture is a great addition to the classroom and allows for flexibility as learning activities change.

“The class may start out in pods as a part of a small group discussion, then shift to a whole-class activity with desks arranged to face each other. Another day tables and desks may be facing towards the front, so that we can all participate in the same experience,” said Ms. Mcleod. “Desks can be moved if pairs want to work together. Some might move to the high top tables to charge their Chromebooks or because that is where they feel most comfortable.”

Armstrong High School isn’t the only building embracing a new way of teaching. Learn more about different classroom styles being used throughout the country here. Learn more about Modern Classrooms here.