Friday, January 16, 2015

Classroom design: a reading room.

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." Winston Churchill

If you believe those words, then I must be absolute perfection.  My desk has moved three times in the past 2 days in my classroom. And I'm still not happy, but it's a start.

I began to make changes beyond simple desk formations this week in my classroom.  I shoved my clunky teacher desk along the wall, and created an area for student books to be shelved within easy reach. My student librarians, two girls who applied for the job at the beginning of the year, jumped in to help and soon had a beautiful book display.

Then my husband returned from his trip "down south" with  the items from my Ikea list. (Ikea is a 6 hour drive one-way from here on the Island - so it's a big deal and usually involves a long shopping list.) A cheap floor rug and some clearance thrown pillows. Actually, I got two floor rugs, but we don't have any floor space in the class for the other one right now, so it is rolled up in a corner, just waiting...

Since I was spending money out of my own pocket, and since kids have a way of staining and destroying items without even trying, I didn't want to spend too much.  I simply looked online for the cheapest options I could find. Plus, I didn't know if the students would think it was "cool" enough and actually want to use them. Was I wrong.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] Ikea Hulsig Rug - $14.99[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] Ikea Krakris Cushion - $1.99 x 8[/caption]

It's funny how  you can never really predict how students will react to change. Especially teens.

The next thing I knew, my librarians were asking to move more shelves and a giant storage cart around. They were SO excited. When they finished and were marvelling at their handiwork, I went over to inspect.

read 2

A "reading room" had been built into our classroom. (sorry for the poor quality 4s iPhone pics - I need to bring a better camera to school)

This morning, I brought in a plant from home that had been a Christmas gift from one of the students and I placed it in the reading area. The class started to buzz and a boy came up and said that they had a plant at home that was dying and maybe he could bring it in to see if we could save it and have it in our classroom. Another student came over and said that we needed to hire for another job - plant caretaking.

The reading room is the hot spot, and students have been piling in with books and pillows, discussing their book club books and planning out geography inquiries.

Two students spent recess break inside, poring over furniture catalogs and sketching out classroom design ideas on grid paper. I can't believe how passionate they were becoming over table and stool styles. One of them is now dreaming of becoming an interior designer. The other is plotting ways that we can finance the ideas.

My teacher desk got moved again, to the front of the classroom, against the wall. It currently has an organizer shelf piled on it.

I have a feeling it isn't finished moving yet.  Each move it has inched closer and closer to the doorway. Its days are numbered.

More changes are coming. Just that much closer to being perfect...

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