I am the ONLY teacher from Grade 8 to Grade 12 that does NOT have my student's desks in rows facing the "front" of the room. In fact, I am only teacher that does not have their desk as the focal point of the room! I am also the only teacher out of this group that has additional furniture in my room:
|Our classroom "chill-out" space|
After I returned to my classroom, I began thinking of how my classroom differed from those of my colleagues. In addition to the furniture layout, my room also features:
- A student work station with a computer that can hook up to our
room's SMART Board (no other high school classes have student
computers in the room except our science lab)
- A microwave for students to heat up snacks (or for me to heat up
the numerous coffees/teas I consume during the day)!
- A "charging station" for students to charge their devices throughout
In fact, if you visited my classroom you might see:
- Students sitting wherever they like during lessons (at a desk, at the
"chill-out" space with a clipboard, at my desk, etc)
- Free-reign of device use (I would rather teach appropriate and
responsible device use rather than ban them). **I do however,
ask students to set their devices aside during important lessons
or if their peers are presenting.
- Students with their head-phones in, oblivious to the world around
them, but diligently completing their work.
- Students taking pictures or their work and blogging about it.
|IAP mechanics review 02. (2009). Uploaded to Flickr by CPS Photo Library. Available online at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cpsphotolibrary/7205319640/|
Why does my classroom function this way?
- I want our learning to be as student-centered as possible. I want
students to be able to interact with their peers, collaborate on a
project, and share their learning with others.
- I want students to be comfortable. I want them to be able to feel
at home; like they belong to our classroom community. If they need
to relax and curl up on the couch, do it. If they want to heat up food
and have a snack, do it.
- I want them to use tools that they find useful and meaningful to them.
I encourage device use in the classroom and recognize that students
are going to be using them regardless of whether I encourage it or not;
why not integrate them instead of banning them?
- I want to extend our learning beyond our classroom. I want students
to think critically about their learning, share their ideas with the world,
search for information that I can't provide, and explore their interests.