Classroom Redesign 101

The start of 2016 allowed me a great opportunity as I was starting in a new class space. I had decided early on that I wasn’t going to set up the class space for my students as I believe strongly in the “Third Teacher” principle.

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It was hilarious on the first day of school to see the students’ and parents’ faces whilst looking at the the desks and chairs neatly stacked up and the walls bare. What was funnier was how tentative they were about entering the space… I felt like I was mustering cattle to get people in there!

The only thing up on the walls were photos of the students and teams I had randomly placed them in.

We started the morning in Circle Time. I love starting with Circle Time as it’s a great way to connect as a whole group. We played a few “ice breakers” and then split up into our teams.

I handed each team an article about effective learning spaces. I’ve created a Blendspace of these articles that you can see here –  Learning Space Design Blendspace (NB. Normally, we would have had laptops on day 1 so I would have asked teams to conduct their own research using the SOLE framework). In their teams, each students read the article and then chose 1 word, 1 phrase and 1 sentence to highlight and to share with their team.

I then split the teams into expert groups in which they shared their different articles. Each member of the expert groups took turns to share and take notes on the various articles and research.

I enjoyed the way that my students were informed about what makes effective learning spaces prior to them beginning to ideate.

Check out my next blog entry in which the students start ideating.

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