It was the first day of school and my classroom was a buzzing hype of excitement and awe. Small groups were forming, chatting pointing and smiling about the way the room was arranged.
“A couch! Cool. Looks like a lounge room” says a wide-eyed newbie to the room.
“Check out all the cute stuffed toys,” says her friend.
“My classroom never looked like this,” joins in Sam.
And these were just a sample of comments coming from the parents!!
You can imagine the pleasure I felt when I could hear these positive comments, and the affirmation that this may have been the beginning a great learning environment. Hesitantly the parents left their children’s classroom and my year began with a new group of students.
I have to thank the forward thinking leadership in one of my schools for supporting teachers in their quest for creating learning spaces that were appealing and inviting to students. As teachers we were given a small budget at the beginning of the year that was purposefully for establishing a learning environment. This supplemented what we as teachers often spend ourselves creating the classroom we would want to spend time in if we were students.
What can I buy this year? Hmm lets see –
• Floor cushions
• Dr Seuss stuffed toys
• Oils and a new oil burner
• Stable tables for floor work
• Colourful table covers
“Now kids, what can we do to make this our room?” I ask.
“Can we paint the tables like Mrs M’s room?” ask the kids.
So we set off on our first inquiry of the year…
How do we create a great place to learn? How should we paint the tables? What colours should we use? What sort of designs would promote thinking and learning? How do we decide the groups we work in?
Now where are the computers?