This week’s vlog is about the connection between physical activity and learning in the classroom and the research behind this. Learn from Mark Hubbard, Paragon’s President, and stay tuned for our upcoming vlogs and blogs.These blogs and vlogs are aimed to help K-12 schools create environments that foster active learning and enable it to flourish.

Watch now, and tell us what you think in the comments section below. Be sure to keep up with us on social media to stay updated on new insights from our team!

Come back next week when Mark discusses Sensory Ergonomics.

Are you a school looking to transform your learning spaces?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Each week, Mark Hubbard Paragon’s President, will be posting a 2-minute vlog that aims to help K-12 schools create environments that foster active learning and enable it to flourish.  We are calling the vlog series, “Transforming K-12 Learning Spaces”.

This week’s vlog is about Collaborative Learning.  Watch now, and tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Come back next week when Mark discusses Sensory Ergonomics.

In this week’s transforming K-12 learning spaces vlog, Mark Hubbard shares some tips on redesigning your school library.

As the purpose and function of school libraries evolves, transforming the physical space to accomodate these changes becomes imperative.

With some thoughtful planning and a touch of creativity, you can design vibrant, 21st century library spaces that serve as a central hub for digital teaching, learning and research in your school.

Let us know what you thought about this post in the comments section below and please share new topic ideas.

Next week’s topic is about Maker Spaces. We’ll discuss how to create a maker space in your school.

Thank you for joining this week, and thank you for supporting Paragon Furniture.

In this week’s transforming K12 learning spaces vlog we will continue to explore how learning space design affects student success, but this week we will put the emphasis on design elements such as color and texture.

How the elements in our environment affect us emotionally is referred to as “sensory ergonomics,” and it’s just as important as physical comfort.

Factors such as color and texture can affect a student’s mood significantly, and decades of research suggest this can influence a student’s ability to focus or succeed.

Next week’s topic is about Redesigning School Libraries. Mark will discuss how to transform traditional school libraries into vibrant 21st century learning centers.

Thank you for joining this week and as always, thank you for supporting Paragon Furniture.

When you are designing a maker space, you’ll want to make sure the space promotes creativity and collaboration. You can encourage both of these traits through the design of the space itself. How do you do that? Watch this week’s vlog post entitled, “How Do You Create A Maker Space In Your School” by Mark Hubbard.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an educational concept based on teaching kids key elements including self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsibility to improve their emotional well-being and ability to learn. Basically, it’s teaching kids how to get along in the world with a focus on the necessary skills from an emotional perspective to become a better learner.

The concept is relatively new as a formal part of thecurriculumand has grown as an education topic because of the increased focus on the emotional health of students. Kids are stressed out right now. They are dealing with things like school shootings, their phones, the divorce rate and bigger economic divisions between students, not to mention how learning has become metrics-driven with students facing performance indicators like assessment test scores. Social-emotional learning has grown in prominence because schools recognize students’ stress level is high. Schools know they need to provide safety and the ability to understand others before learning can happen.

Does SEL work? Research from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASL), a noted SEL curriculum provider, found the academic performance of students exposed to an SEL program averaged 13% higher than non-SEL peers, and conduct issues, emotional distress and drug use was significantly lower for students who went through SEL programs.

The importance of the physical environment

The learning environment is never neutral. It will either assist or detract from the learning experience. The environment can say something to a person and speak to your senses as a human being through things like the amount of natural light that’s getting into the room and the hardness or softness of the furniture. All of these things are contributing to your emotional reaction to the world you live in whether you are at home or in a classroom.

The impact of the physical environment is what most interests me about social-emotional learning. Let’s say a school district has committed to teaching SEL. That commitment means there’s a recognition SEL is an important part of the learners’ journey, and the teachers’ journey as well.At that point, what does the learning environment say about the importance of SEL?

It can be easy to talk a big game about providing kids more emotional fortitude and better understanding of themselves and others. That sounds awesome and makes sense, but if the physical environment where they are applying these newly learned skills isn’t conducive to reinforcing those concepts, the impact of social-emotional learning is greatly hampered.

For example, collaboration is key part of relationship building and management and a key part of social-emotional learning as well. If you’re in an environment that doesn’t have furniture that allows you to easily collaborate – such as allowing you and me to sit across from each other practicing and exercising the things we’ve learned about relationship skills – that’s a problem. Ideally chairs and desks and tables should be easy to move and get into a physical orientation that facilitates collaboration.

Even the basic layout of the classroom can have an impact on SEL. A core message of social-emotional learning is that relationships matter. When we have a classroom where all the desks are aligned in perfect rows and everyone is looking forward and no one is looking at each other, does that reinforce social-emotional learning? No, that says something completely different to the students in that classroom.

Students may be under more stress and pressure than ever, but schools are using social-emotional learning to meet this challenge. Because the environment is never neutral, taking the physical space into account should be an important aspect of a social-emotional learning curriculum.

There are so many classroom seating options out on the market today – recognizing what to look for will certainly help narrow the search.

This week Mark Hubbard discusses what to look for in K12 student seating.

Thank you for watching.

You can have really powerful experiences with kids and not spend a lot of money on your maker space.

Watch Mark this week as he discuss, “Tips for Equipping a Maker Space on a Budget”.

And thanks to Convergence Design Lab for allowing Paragon® to showcase one of their maker spaces in this vlog post.

Check out the Digital Atelier @ Tilden High School and see how Convergence Design Lab designed the space to advance STEAM literacies and interest-powered learning!