Change Is Necessary Again
Back in August of this year, I introduced my newly redesigned "classroom crib" on a blog post discussing a few of the benefits of designing your classroom with a purpose in mind. Well, we are starting the 2nd 9 weeks of school and it continues to evolve and change! I have taken out a couch and have moved a few pieces of furniture to meet the needs of my students and their learning. Floor space and mobility are key components when you start to fill the classroom with little bodies and mobile devices. Its so difficult to know whether your design will be functional until you see students in action on a daily basis. So you begin to adjust and tweak a little here and there until the students begin to move in ways that suits the climate of the classroom. The conversations and environment play a very important role in "building relationships" and collaboration between students MUST be "purposeful".
What I Have Learned
I continue to learn that "relationships" are what brings life to the classroom. The conversations between students and their peers begin to take a more "purposeful" meaning in a way that students feel safe and happy. These observations, along with other key factors, are impacting student success on a higher level of engagement. Students feel comfortable talking to their classmates and the environment gives the classroom a sense of "purpose". This has been my goal this year to bring this kind of learning into my classroom. I want students to feel "empowered" when they walk into my classroom and that they "matter" to others around them. I believe that designing a classroom with these goals in mind, can help students feel successful so that they can "empower" others in the same manner. I see and hear their conversations and watch their learning begin to unfold in in "purposeful" play! I continue to learn and grow in my learning each day as I watch my students learn from each other. Their English language is growing exponentially as their conversations are more meaningful and richer. I have introduced new technologies this year, music during transitions, which the students love, to shake things up a bit. They have more time for independent reading with their small pillow while the lights are turned low. They walk around with their iPad with "pride" and hug it like a book, so loved, yet so powerful. This kind of environment has changed my students to be learners of "compassion" and it has changed their teacher to be a "change" agent in her classroom. What a blessing!