With the beginning of a new year and 80% of my students moving onto the next year I have decided that the learning space of Room 6 needs a drastic change. The two catalysts for this change were the Central Lakes ICT Cluster visit to schools in Auckland last year and ICOT thinking from last week. Stonefields, Summerlands and Albany Senior College use their space in such a way that students get to take ownership of the learning and also find a space that fits their learning need whether it is collaborative, paired, whole class of independent.
Professor Peter Barrett of Salford Universities research paper on the analysis of the impact of classroom design on students learning identifies the learning environment as a huge part of a student’s ability to succeed or struggle.
The paper claims that various built environment factors have a significant impact on the learning progress of a pupil. Comparing the worst and best designed classrooms in their sample of 34 classrooms across 7 different UK schools, differences in learning progression are 25% on average. Or in short: well-designed classrooms can increase the learning progression of a pupil by 25%.
Taking this into account and looking at the theory of ‘Caves, Campfires and Watering Holes‘I have tried to make the classroom as accommodating for every child. Although restricted by fixed items such as walls, IWB and wet area I have attempted to add various spaces within the classroom as interesting as possible.
Several trips to the local Wanaka Wastebusters has gained me some inexpensive furniture of an armchair, couch and library corner.
By getting the handy caretaker to modify some soon to be scrapped pin boards I have created some study booth type ‘Caves’.
In conclusion, there are a few other small differences this year in comparison to previous years… there is not enough desks for each child. Yes there are enough working spaces within the classroom and there are actually 33 spaces for 25 children not including couches, the floor or outside, but there are not enough physical desks. This came about by reading Stephanie’s blog post about initial classroom set-up where she pointed out that when space was a premium there was not need for all to have a desk, as rarely do they all use them at the same time, and that by not all having a desk the students must actually share and co-operate together to decide who works where and in what learning area.
But now the classroom is set, the first day is ready to begin and I look forward to trying to articulate to my students why there is not a desk with their name on it.