So I have made the decision to flip my classroom plus I am including more tech like a blended class so in essence I am “blipping” my class!!!
In order to get the desired results, I can no longer have the student desks arranged in rows facing the whiteboard. For the most part, these kids like to socialize and they need to use/transform these skills into those that they can use in their futures whether it be more education or going straight into working. I really like how compact and easy to remember 21st Century Skills are (http://www.p21.org/). I can (hopefully) fully incorporate them into the learning space activities that I will be creating for my students.
Over the years, I have had numerous arrangements of how the desks/tables were in arranged and there are pros and cons with every set up. What I have done now in preparation for the next quarter, is arrange the desks in six groups of four desks. That is a great start but I realize that my teacher desk is still somewhat removed from the major activity of the room. So my next question is, do I go to the students or have them come to me to get help. I think I am going to have to do both! I am going to add a small table to the side of my desk with chairs so the students can be near me when I need to work at my desk, and then I will roam the room with my rolly chair (otherwise known as the queen chair) so that I can help students in situ. Some of my continuation students are reluctant to have other people really close to them(they feel threatened), so I am always careful about personal space.
I found this video about a team of people who transformed a teacher’s classroom and it gave me even more ideas….;)
Classroom Redesign http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/08/classroom-redesign-challenge-think-like-a-designer/
I know our school has plenty of extra whiteboards that I could have installed. I am concerned about tagging on the boards like the students do in other classrooms. I don’t like the atmosphere that is created by the tagging, so I may have to insist that the student whiteboards are cleaned before they are dismissed each period. I will just create areas on the whiteboard where the students can also save their notes, etc… I need to find that balance between self expression/ownership of the space and my own personal idiosyncrasies. I will need to put in that request tomorrow so that it might be done during the break?
Right now, I only have two desktop computers in my classroom. Technically they are for my online students, but my continuation students are really adept at using them as well. Allegedly, the district has mandated that there shall be NO BYOD, but I not going to stop a student from using his/her device to learn in my classroom.
Another issue is that there are two large picture windows on the east and west walls of my LS. I keep the east one covered at all times because it is right behind my teacher desk and I don’t want the people from the portable behind me to always look into my classroom. But the west facing window brings in quite a bit of glare but there are no window coverings to block the light. So my solution has been to cover the windows with white butcher paper which blocks out the distractions, but not all of the light. I am going to pre-cut three sheets of butcher paper and have my classes sign them with a pledge. The pledge goes something like this: “This is MY learning space. I am free every day to choose what happens in my learning space, but I am not free to choose the consequence of my choice.” I really want to emphasize student autonomy and I want them to take ownership of the learning space as well.