“Starbucks My Classroom” Project: The Master Plan


This is a follow up post to I’mma Starbucks My Classroom: My 21st Century Manifesto blog.

It’s the beginning of school year 2016/17. It is the morning of the first day of the new school year. You’ve done this before, but this time it feels very different.

You woke up before the alarm on your phone went off. Though it was much earlier than the last two months got you used to, you woke up energized. Shower, coffee, breakfast, and everything in between – improbably, you did not drag your feet. You got on the road with time to spare.

Driving, you were deep in thought. You were smiling. Visualizing. Anticipating.

As you enter the building you cannot help but smile. You open the door. You look around and you see it. This is the reason you were so eager to get back here.

You worked your ass off for it. You were a teacher possessed, a maniac on a mission. Be proud.

All is quiet. It will not be like this for longer. You can’t wait!

You take it all in. You feel it. You know it will change things forever.

You enter your new classroom.

Hey! Thank you for all the support and overwhelming positive response to my “Starbucks Classroom Manifesto.” I was pumped! Still am. So, I got to work right away.

I know. I know. It’s the end of the school year and I should chill. But I simply can’t! I need to start when the energy is high, the motivation plentiful, and the sense of purpose grand. So I did.

And, I came up with an idea I hope you’ll like. Several of you have expressed interest in ditching rows and columns of desks and want to “Starbucks” your classroom as well. A couple of teachers said they’re definitely doing it and we will compare what our classrooms look like when we’re done. I say hell yeah! But…

Why wait? Why not help each other right now? Collaborate by sharing ideas throughout the process? Get more teachers who are hesitating on board? Make the daunting not so daunting?

So I’m officially launching the “Starbucks My Classroom” Project and here’s the Master Plan:

Mission Brief: Create a Flexible Seating Learning Space in which communication and collaboration is status quo and 21st century skills are mastered. Get rid of most or all of the traditional desks and replace them with coffee shop style furniture. Rug(s), couches, armchairs, futons, high tables, restaurant style tables, stools, bean bags etc. are all fair game. And, you can spend exactly 0 dollars of your own money. We will use critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration to do this!

Get everyone on board

Your principal might or might not like the idea. Mine loves it (I hope), but if yours needs convincing contact me for resources on how to do this. Hell, I’ll even call them. Or e-mail. Or kill them with tweets. Actually, if they are on Twitter they’ll love the idea. Here’s my list of folks to hit up:

1. Principal

2. Teacher(s) you might share the room with

3. Custodians to help with furniture/decor/regulations

4. Fire code person/safety officer?

5. ?

Please add anyone I might have omitted, but should have considered in the comments below.

Get the stuff

Here are a few things to do or look at/into:

1. Craigslist free stuff.

2. Local Starbucks – I talked to the manager already. She said they do donate furniture upon remodeling and gave me the Corporate number. I have not called it yet, but here it is: (800) 235-2883. I am putting it on my to do list for tomorrow. I will ask for donations, info etc.

3. Tweet at Howard Schultz/Starbucks – maybe silly, but I’m not losing anything here right? Already did – no reply so far.

4. Other businesses remodeling/going out of business?

5. Maybe there are suitable pieces hiding in your building to get you started? Other district buildings?

6. School Family Donations – Ask students if they are getting rid of gently used furniture. It’s a tax write-off. One student told me they have a gently used futon his family is pitching. I’m all over that bad boy. Note to self: Get his contact! (I might not have electronic access to student records during the summer).

7. Your family or friends updating the home.

8. Write Grants – I applied for the Education First SEL Grant (up to $5k). The application is due on 6/13 11:59PM, but it is very doable. It probably took me a combined 3 hours and I got a blog post out of it :). Here’s the link: http://education-first.com/social-emotional-learning-innovation-fund/?utm_content=buffer8dc7e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

9. Rich uncle.

10. ?

Add to the list in comments please.

Do It!

The first part is all you. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE LEAP INTO THE ABYSS. Or faith, if that motivates you more. Abyss works well for me, because I promised myself to face my fears, fight them, and emphatically eradicate them. If you want to, but are hesitating- ask for help. I will help. Others will help. Then decide and proclaim it. Tell EVERYONE you are doing it. Then do it.

The second part is actually doing it and as I said earlier: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

#StarbucksMyRoom aka Help is on the way

Hey- I’m pretty new at hashtags. This is the first one I’m creating. Let’s make it our repository of ideas. If you get an idea or know/find a resource related to flexible seating please tweet it to #StarbucksMyRoom . If you experience a light bulb moment while walking your dog or sky diving, take out your phone and let all your tweeps know. And use the hashtag. Post questions to it too. Follow the #StarbucksMyRoom hashtag and comment if you have answers to others’ questions.

Initially, the ideas can be related to funding, decor, overcoming obstacles etc. Support is always welcome. A nice ‘attaboy or ‘attagirl every now and then helps.

We should also post our progress (pics, vids, text) as that will motivate us all.

As we get closer to the roll-out, we can share teaching and learning ideas, articles, new research, reflections on the process etc.


So I told my 4th hour that I’mma Starbucks The Classroom for next year. I explained it.

They said: Why can’t you do it this year?


Thanks for reading! Check me out on BAm! Sign Up for my Newsletter on the science of learning, teaching and learning strategies, and finding inspiration in the little things. And, you can always count on me to encourage others to ask questions, look for answers, and gulp (not sip) life.

Remember: You Have the Power to Change the World (and Starbucks Your Room). Use It Often!

One comment

The grant is no longer accepting applications. I’m working on updating my high school classroom and am going through the same process as you. Thanks for the tips!

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