Things are now set up and ready. It took about 2 days and I was constantly flip flopping between setting the class up “my way” or having just a shell of a set up and letting the students make it their own. I think I sort of compromised. The walls are going to be their own, all I’m going to suggest are the categories for the cork boards. Seating will be as mobile as possible. Groups of 4, theatre style, schoolroom style. It depends on what we’re doing. I anticipate moving the furniture frequently. Desks also are “turned in” with the storage on the inside. There are a number of reasons for this. In grade 6 students are assigned lockers so the most they’ll have to being to class are 2 subjects worth of materials. The second reason for this is that as we move to a BYOD setting, bringing less to class means bringing more.

I decided that the teacher desk was taking up a lot of space in some of the traditional class layouts. I’m going to try having it face the wall to keep it out of the way. See all that empty shelf space at the back of the photo? I dumped the dictionaries and atlas’ in the storage room. Others are welcome to them. I did the same with the filing cabinet. Everything I have worth keeping has been scanned to a PDF and sits on a series of hard drives, redundantly backed up, or Evernote, often both. Everything else I might need exists online. Everything.

So it looks a bit sparse right now. We’ll check in a week from now to see what it looks like.


4 Comments on “Organizing”

  1. There is something about seeing a classroom at the ready that is exciting. It is definitely the teacher in me. I will never get tired of seeing a classroom set up.

    As you know, I had a grade 6 class once per 5 day cycle for one full day during the last school year. For May and June during the year, I arrived early at school, and using a deck of cards randomly arranged each group of four for the day and identified a leader in each group. The students loved it!

    Not only did I notice a marked improvement in collaboration and communication during these days, I was thrilled to witness how each and every student in the class (25) not only were accepting of the arrangement but were thrilled to see their “leader” name on the list each week.

    I have a “groups of 4” research article from the 80s I used to frame my thinking about classroom desk arrangement. In the article it has just a few basic “norms” for learners to abide by. Some of which are as follows:

    1. Work with your group members to answer and solve the questions that arise in your group during each day.

    2. Ask the teacher for clarification to a question you may have only when all of the members of your group of four are not able to answer the question.

    3. Respect the learning of each and every member of your group of four. (actually, I think this was the number one norm)

    In June I wished I had thought of (remembered) this type of arrangement earlier. It got so the students would peek in when they got off the bus and before class started to see which group they were in and if they were a leader that day. We did rearrange the room as needed during the day of learning but the group of four was our “base set-up” each and every start to the day.

    Here’s to a great start up for you and your groups of four sir!


  2. Andrew Forgrave says:

    Very nice, Colin! Great to read this and looking forward to seeing further pics as things evolve! (I note that the grammarian in you added the -ly to Steve’s “Think Different.” Tough call, for sure!) Again, the very best to you on this year’s adventure!

  3. Colin, I love seeing your classroom set-up and reading Kent’s comment about it as well. I think that groups of 4 are ideal, and I often have students working in groups of four. My problem this year is that my class is HUGE and my room is on the smaller side, so groups of four don’t work well. The students would be tripping over each other. Right now, I have three long groups (basically 10 in each), but I plan on this changing throughout the year, and even sometimes day-by-day. Nothing is set in stone.

    Like you though, I did set-up the physical layout of the room, but the bulletin boards are for the students. I also think the physical layout will change once the students arrive. We shall see.

    I like your additional shelf space. I don’t have 1:1 computers, and I can’t do BYOD (at least not officially), so I do have more print resources on the shelf. I know that we’ll use them periodically, but I also know that we’ll not be using them all the time. They might switch with some of the materials in my cupboard. I want to see how things work once the students arrive. It’s always a work in progress … right?

    Thanks for giving me so much to think about!

    P.S. I struggled the most with assigning vs. not assigning seats. What did you do? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this!

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