Holidays are when ideas begin to mull around in my head. The summer holidays usually are the worst! I make huge plans, and then I return to school, and reality hits! It’s then I find the nitty gritty of implementing those plans takes a lot more than I anticipated in those lazy, hazy days of summer.
However, this isn’t the summer break, it’s the two week mid-winter break. Ideas of how I want to make changes are entering my mind. I am blaming it on the fact I sat in an office for last term instead of a classroom. Normally my mind is mush at the end of a term and ideas have fled. Oh, and the second culprit, Twitter. It brims over with such great ideas.
Firstly I got drawn in by the idea of the Daily Five. It’s a way to organize and structure the literacy programme, as shared by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser in their books, The Daily Five and The Café Book. I see there is a possibility of structuring Maths in a similar way; however I will leave that for the time being.
This structural idea appeals to me:
ü It encourages students to be responsible and independent.
ü It allows me time to work with individuals and groups.
ü There are also times when I can meet for whole class input.
ü Once I get organized each student will have their own goals that they are working towards.
ü The Daily Five ensures that students keep those goals before them daily. We have often previously set goals and somehow during the term they have been lost, only to be remembered when we reflect towards the end of term.
So that leaves plenty to get organized. And I also need to make a general large picture of the social studies unit to be entered into for the coming term. There are plenty of other ideas also rolling around inside. Not new ideas, others have all been there before me, but I am walking the path for the first time. Fortunately great teachers have shared places on the internet to explore and obtain more information.
Subsequently I looked at the two sisters website and noticed the designs of some of the classrooms. I heard in my head, “What if…..?” What if I made some changes in the layout of the classroom. (I am a structural control freak, you need to know that!) I decide where the students sit, I carefully craft a seating plan each term.
But what if…. Every student didn’t have a desk. Computers are wonderful in the classroom, but they take up room and they have to be where they can be cabled into the internet ports, although a wireless upgrade is hopefully coming very soon. I use a rather large kidney shaped desk, that I like but has a dangerous wobbly bit on it. So I am thinking:
ü Get a jelly bean shaped desk I can use.
ü Find a two seater couch
ü Rearrange the class library
ü Organise how to store student gear.
ü Remove some of my filing cabinets
ü Gather up some cushions
ü Make up some listening boxes
ü Put my dibs on a low table or two
ü Wonder how many actual desks to leave
My classroom is generally the last thing I organize. My walls are never anything to write home about. There are other things that take my time and energy. But this could make a difference to learning and I am rather energized by the thought.
There is a thought going around in my head about how students will cope with this. I am thinking that I will pre prepare but nothing too radical until the students return. Then I will get them to think about the classroom and what if…? I will ask them to come up with a design, and get their thoughts on how many desks we need, where we could place things.
I already have my jelly bean desk. I spotted it on Trademe, now I just need to organize the transport. I will be able to use it for working with groups of students and it can also double up as a working area for them when I am not using it. I have my eye on a 2 seater couch that will be local and easily picked up, and very cheap. Nice.