Classroom Redesign

Over the course of the last two weeks, our students began a classroom redesign project.  We began by having a very structured group conversation where we shared likes and dislikes about the chairs in which the students currently sit.  The children shared in a whole group setting a variety of reasons why they like their chair, it is a safe place to sit and it does not crack, and reasons why they dislike their chair, it is uncomfortable, there is no cushion, it does not move easily, and it digs into their backs.  We then continued our conversation a few days later, this time based around our desks.  Again the students shared their likes and dislikes. We heard the students share that they like their desks because it is their own personal space, there is storage and everything is easy to reach.  They dislike their desks because they do not move easily, it is hard to see what is inside, and there is no space to display their work.  After the students got the idea of how to be critical of items in their environment, we asked the students to use post-it notes to share one like and one dislike about their cubbies, bulletin boards and finally their classroom in general.  After the students shared their likes/dislikes, we bucketed their ideas into common strands.  Through the bucketing process, we learned that the students do not feel a sense of privacy and personal space in their classroom.  We also learned that they do not feel comfortable while they are working and learning.  From this information, we developed two questions for the students to brainstorm possible solutions. How Might We create a more comfortable classroom that promotes learning? How Might We create a classroom with more personal space?  Let the wild ideas flow, stay tuned!

Comments

One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. John Mueser,

    Congratulations on this re-thinking project. It is important for teachers and students to be empowered. As a Riverdale second grader many years ago, I remember my teacher Mrs. Pennington instructing us in the ways of the Native Americans. We had a teepee right in the classroom with our very own symbol hand-painted on it. I was Chief Bright Eyes. She allowed us each to be chief for a week and participate in important decision making regarding classroom jobs, articles to improved in the weekly newsletter, seating assignments, and the teams during games and spelling bees. We learned responsibility by baking corn bread at home and bringing it to the group pow-wow to share and by leading the meeting and letting everyone have a turn to speak. I commend you for your efforts in involving your students in the process of education. Some of my most memorable lessons were learned from dynamic teachers who took the time to listen as well as to instruct. I am privileged to still be doing both. This rethinking should be a continuous process throughout our lives. Thanks to my own First and Second Grade teachers at Riverdale: Mrs. Kaier and Mrs. Pennington. Bravo to Mr. Schurr and 2S!

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