2011

Like ┬átypical teacher I’ve had my thoughts turned towards 2011, a new class and a new classroom as well as a new team & team leader at school.

2010 saw me teaching in an old library – bigger than a normal classroom and not a box shape. I loved it. I loved being able to let my kids work outside on the top steps or under the tree. We had nooks and crannies that were great to work with. However, with a change of team, the boss asked me if I’d change classrooms – yes he did actually ask!

I guess the question for me was did the classroom set the tone for my eLearning class or did I? And if it was I who set the tone then the physical classroom I work in shouldn’t make a difference.

So I said I’d change and am now in a smaller typical classroom!

Classroombase

´╗┐I’ve started setting my classroom out and have decided to start with less desks than kids – a radical idea I know but it’s something I did in 2010 and worked really well. No student has an assigned desk. Their things are in their tote trays which are in a tote tray trolley. I have 4 desks in the classroom (not in the ‘mini-lab’ area) with a pod of 4 computers on them. I have another two desks for the two older PC laptops (that need to connect via ethernet) and I have a ‘charging station for my two Macs (iBook and MacBook) which can access the network/internet wirelessly from anywhere in the classroom. I’ve taken 6 desks completely out of the classroom and that leaves 18 desks for kids to work at. I’ve also got 2 coffee tables for kids to kneel around and work (or sit on cushions etc); a couch; 2 bean bags and various others places in and out of the classroom they can work at.

(In my classroom there is no “sit down and shut up” type of policy – that’s not how we as adults learn and it shouldn’t be for kids either.)

The Seven Spaces of Technology in School Environments from Ewan McIntosh on Vimeo.

I’ve been thinking about spaces too (a-la Ewan’s 7 spaces of technology) and I’m going to use an old dome tent that I have as a ‘secret/quiet’ space for kids to use – I envisage it being just outside the door in the learning street with a couple of kids reading or chatting quietly in it – or even working in it – there will be some privacy but I’ll still be able to stay in touch with them with both sets of flaps open.

How's this for a quiet reading space?

I’ve also been thinking about having maths, reading, writing & art spaces permanently active in the classroom – I want to encourage creativity in the classroom – not just at set times!

As for other things – I tend to read all about other people’s fantastic ideas and create a mash up that suits MY classroom.

More thoughts later …

5 thoughts on “2011

  • January 5, 2011 at 12:01 am
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    I really like the idea of the tent- part of the class but not part of it too. One of my schools has just bought some new class furniture that kids stand at to do their work- a bit like bar tables. I like that idea too. I had two boys last year who did most of their work standing- they would have loved something like that.

    Looking forward to seeing what it ends up like.

  • February 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm
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    I enjoyed reading your blog. I like the layout of your classroom. I think it is neat that you have a tent for your students to use during class. It is good that you are encouraging their creativity in your classroom. I really enjoyed the video, it is very interesting. More schools need to use these ideas in the classroom. I hope 2011 continues to go well for you!

    http://silcoxjenniferedm310.blogspot.com/

  • February 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm
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    Your ideas are inspiring and so creative. Changing the settings of your classroom by using less desks, adding tents, bean bags, etc. is a great idea. I hope to make my room a place where the students’ are eager to learn. I do not want them to become easily distracted but in turn want the kids to be excited and ready when they enter the classroom. Actually, your blog brought back some memories about one of my elementary teachers and her classroom. I will never forget this teacher. When I was in the first grade my teacher had the best classroom. She had a swing and that is where she would sit when reading to the us. We would all gather around the swing to sit in a circle to listen. She also had little tables and chairs for us to do our work and had stations set up for each subject. I will never forget her as a teacher and that is something that I hope to carry on to my classroom and students. Your blog just shows me that creativity does still exist. I admire you for keeping that creativity throughout your teaching experience.

  • February 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm
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    You got to be one of the coolest teachers there is. I have never even thought of a classroom like that. I can see how it could really be enjoyable for students to have tents in their classroom. This has to make them feel like they are at home. I don’t believe every class could be like this because jobs on the outside want be like that. I can see how having some classes like this could make it comfortable and exciting for the students. I’m sure they appreciate you for doing this.

  • February 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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    Hi. My name is Colby-Win Beasley. I am a student majoring in math/education at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am in a class called Education in the Media where we learn how to incoporate technology into the classroom and explore new ideas for education. I thought your blog was fantastic. You certainly have some very interesting methods of teaching. I know that if I were I student in your class I would actually be excited to go to school. Thank you for posting this blog and maybe you can check out mine at http://beasleycolbywinedm310.blogspot.com

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