My Goals for this Year:
1. Implement Google Docs with English classes
2. Implement 20% time
3. ReMake my learning space in a way that works.
It can’t just look cool, feel cozy, and be different from before. I have struggled with my space since I first came into teaching. I have never liked my classroom set up but I have also never been able to tweak it in any way that either made learning better or life easier (and I don’t think any change I have ever made did either of those things, let alone both).
A few things that have held me back in the past, and my current thinking.
A. My room is pretty small.
It's not tiny, but not much wiggle room once everything that’s currently in there is in there. I need to reevaluate much of the items I have. Some furniture that was needed to house the stuff (see below) can go. This is hard for me, but I need the space more than the stuff.
B. My room is used on the weekends as a testing site, in need of standard row seating.
I’m not going to worry about this anymore. There are enough classrooms on our site that they can avoid mine if my changes do not allow for standardized testing. Darn.
We all have stuff, and I could be classified as a borderline hoarder, definitely a pack rat, but I seriously have had the need for the ‘stuff.’ The past two years I have held multiple roles at my school including Chairperson of a core department (17 people at its largest in my time) and as an Intervention Coordinator. Both of these roles came with stuff, lots of stuff. My room was the supply closet for the entire department keeping items on hand to have available to teachers on a moment’s notice. I also received orders of materials like workbooks and other consumables and had to sort and manage the delivery to their recipients. Much of my cabinet space has been taken over by the supplies and the materials, and then to house the tech pieces as they failed to use for parts or to hang onto until recycling is reasonable. Now, I am eliminating the stuff and reclaiming my storage!
Because of goals 1 and 2, my classes (students) will be moving around a lot as I aim to work in computer labs and foster collaborative work. I want goal #3 to support this.
Obviously, Goal #3 is on my mind today. I have been thinking and shopping and planning for how to make my classroom the environment I want it to be. My current plan is to set up my room in thirds. An area with carpet, a couch, etc., an area with the standard desks, and then an area with tables and chairs. I hope that this will foster collaborative working among the students, allow students to be comfortable in the learning environment, and still be able to have whole class instruction, large group activity, small group activity, and individual worktime. Today I went to see a colleague who also has a carpet shop in town (awesome!!) and got a 12X8 carpet and tomorrow my husband and I will go check out a couch at Goodwill that looks like it will work for me.
It looks like I will move from hope to action this year.