How would Debbie Diller redesign your classroom?

August 25th, 2008

“Classroom space impacts everything: instruction, behavior, and our (children’s and teachers’) sense of well-being,” writes Debbie Diller in her new book, Spaces & Places. But small classrooms, antiquated furniture, limited supplies and time, make it hard for most teachers to create the classroom of their dreams.

A whole-group area from Debbie's book

If you love to see those interior design experts on TV transform dull or messy living spaces into beautiful showcases, then this new feature is for you. We have set up an online Flickr gallery where you can upload photos of your classroom, as well as post questions and comments on others’ photos. Debbie will select three photos of whole group areas that have been submitted to the gallery and will provide her own advice on how the area could be redesigned to provide a more comfortable or productive space for children. If you are among the first ten to upload a classroom photo, we will send you a free copy of any Debbie Diller book published by Stenhouse.

Instruction for using Flickr:

(If you’re already a member of Flickr, sign in to your account and join us at Spaces & Places)

To submit pictures and join in discussions, you’ll need to join Flickr and then join the  Spaces & Places group.  There is no charge to join.

How to join:

Go to

If you already have a Yahoo! ID (an email address ending in,, or, you have everything you need to sign up at Flickr.  Head over to and click on “Create Your Account” to get started.  If you don’t have a Yahoo! ID, sign up at the bottom of the page, get your free Yahoo! ID and create your Flickr account. It will only take a  minute.

Once you’ve signed into Flickr, visit Spaces & Places and click “Join this Group”.

Using Flickr:

To post a photo to the group, you’ll first need to upload it to your personal space at Flickr.  Click “Upload Photos” (which is under the You menu at the top of the page) and follow the instructions that appear.

Once you’ve uploaded your photo to your personal space, click on the “Send to group” tab at the top of the photo- a dropdown box containing a list of all your groups will appear.  Select Spaces and Places, and your photo will be added to the group pool.   But don’t leave that “Description” field empty!  Tell us why you’ve chosen to put the photo in the group pool—is there something about your room that could use some input?  Do you have a great example of putting Debbie’s advice into practice?

Adding comments: We encourage you to comment on photos uploaded by other group members. Just click on the photo and enter your comments in the “Add Your Comment” box below the photo.

Adding notes:  Notes are a great feature of Flickr.  They’re different from comments in that you can add a note about a specific area of a photo.  By adding a note, you can highlight the area in question and add your comment.  When you click “Add Note” just above a photo, a small square and a green rectangle appear on the photo.  Drag the square to the area you want and resize it as needed.  Type your note in the green rectangle and press “save” when you’re done.  The note will appear when a user mouses over the photo.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mary Blair  |  August 29th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I love this….it could be an incentivve for teachers if we uploaded their classrooms to share.

  • 2. Patti Cain  |  September 13th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    I love your book. I am looking forward to making some changes in my classroom. I needed some inspiration. thanks!

  • 3. dayle timmons  |  September 17th, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Extreme Makeover – Debbie Dillard sytle! Now that sounds like a best seller to me!

  • 4. jane  |  September 21st, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Last year I was amazed at how much better the teaching environment was in my class when our principal got all the K teachers kidney shaped tables for our small group instruction. How could one table make so much difference??? After reading Spaces and Places I now feel so validated at the change that table made. Now my usless teacher desk is gone which opened up space for all 3 of my computers to fit on a built in computer counter! That meant the ugly computer tables could go,too! So much more room for children…workstations start tomorrow and I can’t wait! When people see my room they say, “it looks so good…I can’t figure out what’s the difference but it looks so much better”. Thank you, Debbie, for the wonderful book! I read our Reading Specialist’s copy and can’t wait to get one of my own. Jane

  • 5. Carrie  |  November 18th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    I went to Debbie’s conference last week in Fulton, MO. Over the weekend I “Dillerized” my classroom. It looks GREAT!

  • 6. m colella  |  March 1st, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I am a kindergarten teacher. The bulk of my students are extremely low. Never been read to, no writing background or writing instruments at home, don’t know what a letter even is.
    Which of Debbie’s books would be most beneficial for someone in my situation? I also need suggestions on changing my classroom. I have to share with another teacher who has a desk, file cabinets and two huge free standing closets.

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