So, it's the start of another new year here in New Zealand. I wonder what most would think if greeted with this sight!
Yes - we did it! We put every piece of furniture in our school into the school hall at the end of 2014!!! The reasons were twofold. We needed to do some maintenance- carpet cleaning and painting and we needed to redistribute our furniture.
This is our 6th year of opening and already in that time, our use of our spaces has changed significantly. Also, as we have grown, new furniture has been purchased and maybe some spaces had more furniture than others, or it would have been better suited to a different year level.
So, we are starting the year with the bare minimum and working with our students to decide what they really want in their learning zones.
This year, I am team teaching in a cool new space! Old style prefabs that have been refurbished. There's going to be a lot to do to set them up. Here's a couple of pics from the last day of school last year.
So it's still a bit of a mess, but these photos show you the evolving space! Sorry the pics aren't great - the rest had kids in them.
Now, here we are two weeks in!
You can see we have started to bring in some furniture! The kids have been busy planning what else we would like. Absolute top of the list is a tall whiteboard table with bar stools. It was interesting that they weren't interested in low white board tables at all. They also want bean bags and a few other tables that they know are over in the hall.
We have a interactive white board and large screen tv on a trolley coming, but I have to say it is challenging teaching without a projector and all we have at the moment is our little teaching station. (First world problems I know!!) But we are getting there.
Discoveries: The students have an excellent knowledge now of how to use spaces and firm ideas about the design of this new space. It was great on the first day, when the students were asked to find somewhere to work, they immediately spread out throughout the whole area. They had lots of ideas for our furniture choices.
About myself - I have struggled not having "my stuff" close by. We still have most of our things in boxes until we get storage and it's a pain!!
Wonderings: I still don't like the way tote trays and bag storage take up SO much of the learning space. At the moment we have bags stacked all over the floor. Eventually we will have cubes for them. We had hoped to maybe have bags outside, but too costly as we would have to weather proof. It seems such a waste! Would love to have some better ideas than tote trays. I have seen some schools use containers, but even they take up a lot of room. Will keep thinking!
Stay tuned for Part 2, when the kids choices arrive.
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.