Like typical 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!
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.)
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.
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 …