So all good things must come to an end! Today my sabbatical ended and I headed back to my fabulous class, which is also a good thing. I'm kind of excited to start trying out some ideas that I've gained during my term off and to see how I can use my environment to support and enhance learning for my students.
Firstly, I started playing around with the classroom design. This term I am teaching collaboratively with 2 other teachers for Maths, 1 other teacher for Literacy and up to 5 other teachers for Inquiry, Discovery Learning and some Literacy.
I decided I would like to make my classroom more of a "watering hole" space, with a larger floor area. In the past, I have had quite large tables that took up all the room, so I switched these out for tables that are smaller. I still wanted the kids to have a "home seat". It's something I use for many of my management routines - I can take the roll in 2 seconds flat - but they will only be there a couple of times a day. This may be something I'll need to learn to let go!
I wanted to create more options for students to choose a space to work in. So now I have table spaces, a huge floor space that can fit 3 classes when required, and more "rooms within rooms".
We also have our learning studio space that we use all the time. The open space seems now to dominate the room, while before the tables definitely did.
So the kids seemed to like the new layout today and are already beginning to move around the class more than they did in Term 1. When I had big tables, it was often like they were fixed to a spot, so it was great to see them doing this. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next few weeks, with collaborative teaching and learning getting underway.
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.