My Learning Space Now
I work in a building that includes kindergarten through grade five. The K-2 classrooms include desks put into groups to create “tables” of students. Part of the struggle for my classroom is providing “comfort” and sensory outlets for young learners. Many students at age six and seven have a greater tendency for moving about, fidgeting, and needing frequent breaks in work time to maintain focus. This is where this week’s module to re-design a classroom by imagining configurations that would reflect experience design and best promote student-centered learning.
In 79 ways to Transform learning, one of the task cards indicated to “make peace with fidgeting” (OWP/P Architects, 2010). Students need to be able to learn in a way that is best-fit for them. As in personalized learning, students need to be provided with the necessities in order for them to become successful in daily lessons. From this theory, I have redesigned my classroom to accommodate learners to provide students with options to address a diverse set of learners to promote creativity, collaboration, and discovery.
My Learning Space Vision
I created a classroom that includes “modified” versions of what I already have in my room today. First are circular student tables. I feel these tables create a collaborative environment for students. The seats with these tables include cushions – a subtle addition, though may be just enough “wiggle” for students that need to move while they work. Additionally, I’ve included two exercise balls in the room to act as chairs. I’ve had these in the past and found them to be beneficial in that they don’t cause distractions to others nor to they become a distraction to the students using them.
I decided to include portable computer desks where students may be free to move throughout the classroom to work on the computer. It was said by The Third Teacher that we need to, “Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?” (The Third Teacher, 2010). Allowing students to work in a space they choose may promote creativity and encourage students to work on task in a way that’s most suitable for them.
I decided to have a bulletin board dedicated to student work only. The Third Teacher said that, “posting student work, both current and past, up on the walls tracks progress in a visible way “ (The Third Teacher, 2010). This is something teachers and students tend to do when reflecting at the end of a unit or the end of the year, however, this constant reminder of progress would be motivating for students.
Additionally, I recognize the importance of creating a classroom climate where students feel motivated and engaged, but also one where students feel at home and comfortable. First grade students have come from kindergarten where they had naptime, centers consisted of kitchen and building blocks, they could play dolls and use Lego’s. Students in first grade have somewhat of a “dose of reality” when they arrive to my classroom in the fall. For this reason, I want to build a nest as described in The Third Teacher, “children need comfort just as much at school as they do at home. Give them a soft, quiet, and cozy area to play in by themselves or with a few friends” (The Third Teacher, 2010). For this reason, I’ve added a colorful carpet and beanbag chairs for students to cozy up to during the day.
Implementing my Vision
Items needed to implement my vision can be found on Amazon in a varity of options. A list of my running fees are below:
- $20 exercise ball chairs (need 2) or bumpy seats $12
- $35 portable computer desks (need 3)
- $25 bean bags (need 2)
- $9 rug
- Total: $204
This design could be implemented in stages. The adaptation to my classroom that I believe would be most beneficial would be the exercise balls or bumpy seats to be placed at tables. This is something that I’ve already had in my classroom and feel would be a great way for students to “fidget” without becoming distracting to their neighbor or distracting themselves form their learning.
This assignment has gotten me to think about what students need today. “If we truly believe that creativity is an essential ingredient in a child’s development, then we need to shift completely away from the “cells and bells” model of school design. So the other fundamental question we should be asking is: Does this learning environment support a child’s natural instinct to learn through creation and discovery? (Michael Waldin, BMD and Trung Le, OWP/P).
Mainstays Kids Boy Block Nylon Accent Rug, 30″ x 46″ – Walmart.com. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2016, from http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Kids-Boy-Block-Nylon-Accent-Rug-30-x-46/45418663
OWP/P Architects, VS Furniture, & Bruce Mau Design. (2010). The third teacher: 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching & learning. Retrieved from http://thethirdteacherplus.com/s/Ch2-TTT-for-Web-0y6k.pdf
The Third Teacher. (2010). TTT Ideas Flash Cards. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/v25rRA