Posts Tagged learning_design
In most English Curriculum units I run an activity where students work in groups to design their ultimate English classroom.
Here are some of the elements that come up in many of the designs:
- Really big bookshelf
- Reading area/chill out zone with bean bags
- Lots of windows
- Blackout curtains around the room for cinema viewing & drama background
- ‘Drama blocks’ that can be used as seating or a stage (or a dedicated stage area)
- An indoor plant
- Projector and screen
- Moveable tables (though note often teacher-centric as default)
Some groups, but not too many, also include:
- Interactive whiteboard/s
- Posters on the wall
- iPad/laptop chargers
- Student work display board
- Different ‘zones’ in one big room
- Coffee/tea making area
- An outdoor area e.g. verandah
The inclusion of a coffee/tea area is slightly worrying, given the adolescent age range of the students in mind!
Other than that though, I can see very good reasons for most of these design elements.
The only problems is…I know that these aspiring teachers have buckleys of fitting all this in to a traditional school classroom space. Until we knock down the walls and invest in new, flexible, comfortable furnishings, these dream rooms will stay just that. A dream.
What do you do to make your classroom more like your ‘ultimate room’? What else would you include in your ultimate classroom design?
Over the years I have seen many creative and high utility wall displays in other people’s classrooms. Imelda Judge for example is wizard with cardboard and hot glue – sharing a classroom with her in 2009 was a wild apprenticeship in classroom decoration!
I say ‘other people’s classrooms’ because I haven’t had a lot of success with this kind of thing!
2008: One time, I thought I had made a pretty successful poster of quotes from King Lear for my Year 12s…but they never seemed to look at it:
2009: Far more successful displays have tended to come out of students’ own work being put up, such as this display of lines of poetry after a lesson with Year 10:
2011: And the ‘tree of knowledge’ inspired display I’ve had in my uni teaching for the past 18 months was wrongly positioned at the back of the room, and a little haphazard to boot:
Today: When I saw Bianca’s tweet today with a picture of her classroom wall painted with blackboard paint, I thought ‘how cool is that!?’
…which motivated me to start designing some posters to add to my classroom this semester.
I’m going for a digital look, rather than getting all crafty with the glitter and paint. I plan to print them out in colour A3 and get the students to decide where they think they should be put up in the room. Here is the first one – two of the key concepts I focus on in my English Curriculum Studies unit:
Mind you, the room I teach in has been a blu-tak free zone for the past two years, because it got a new paint job. This has been severely limiting. While it’s lovely on one hand to teach in a clean and modern space, it’s hard to use a room when you can’t put things up where you want. Teachers who don’t have a ‘home room’ will know the feeling!
The display I have been using so far, however, has been taking up one of the big green write-on groupwork boards in the room (to avoid having to blu-tak the wall). I don’t think I can keep using that board – I need it in my class, and other teachers must too.
So walls, you’ve had two years…the blu-tak is now a-comin 😉
If anyone else has electronic copies of pedagogy-inspired posters that they would be happy to share, I would love to see some more designs. And if you have any ideas for what else you think I should be flagging for 2nd year preservice English teachers, tell me all about that too!