Te@chthought‘s Day 5 Challenge is “Post a picture of your classroom, and describe what you see–and what you don’t see that you’d like to.”
I’m sorry. I looked, and I do not have a picture of my classroom from this year! I was very excited last year to learn that my classroom was the next in line to receive the furniture budget. I met with the Vice-Principal and she listened to my vision for my room. That year I had worked hard to meet the varying needs of my students to provide self-regulated, self-selected work spaces. We had desks that were extremely old and we used that as an excuse to work anywhere! We had yoga mats, weights, pillows and various cubbies for students to sit in. We had an agreement about how our class could look during working times when people needed to focus on their own jobs, and during “listening” times when it may look different, but we still needed to show respect to whoever was speaking. During working times, students could be anywhere, conversations were welcomed at a respectful volume, and activities were self-selected. During listening times, students could be anywhere, but needed to find a space where they could maintain eye-contact with whoever was speaking during the discussion.
When I learned that I would receive funding, I was desperate to get rid of our desks. All desks! I call my students a “family” and I pictured a learning environment that worked well for a family. I envisioned a couple of used dining room tables (at two heights – regular and bar stool height), a few bean bag chairs, foam flooring area, a couch or two, and multiple gaming chairs. I wanted to hold off on funding this change until I met my students in September 2013, so that we could co-create this space together. The vice-principal agreed. Later in the summer I received a phone call from my principal announcing that my new desks had been ordered. So, that is how my classroom looks. Traditional, new desks with pockets for storing textbooks. One desk and chair for each child. I have gained some flexibility in moving these desks around as they are much smaller than my previous desks, but my room still looks more like a classroom than a family space.
Maybe one day I can renovate this space!