July 21, 2011

What is My Ideal Classroom?

I was thinking I should take a little bit of time to explain why classroom design and management is so important and what it looks like to me. When I enter a space, whether it be someone's house, yard, or classroom I find that it speaks to me about what's going on in that space and the people who occupy it.

I like to keep things simple, organized, and clutter free. You wouldn't have known it if you saw my classroom last year, but that was a different time and place for me. I was placed into an intermediate classroom part-way into the school year and essentially into someone's else's idea of a classroom. I was never able to make the space quite my own.

This year the possibilities feel endless (until I get knocked back down to Earth, which I feel is inevitable).  But, let's live in the moment.

According to the School Effectiveness Framework, 2010 released by the Ontario Ministry of Education, some selected indicators that relate to classroom learning in an effective school are:

  • learning environment organized to optimize learning
  • establish a safe, caring, and healthy environment
  • interviews, conferences, and learning conversations in groups, pairs, and individually
  • apply progressive discipline in a way that students learn to make better choices
  • personal learning supports
  • students and teachers are co-creators of the learning environment 
  • learning skills and work habits are communicated to parents

To support each of these areas, here are some of my ideas. This list will continue to be updated as I progress through this process by revising and adding thoughts.

Learning environment organized to optimize learning
classroom library organized by genre and text type, bins for organizing student work, shelves aren't overstuffed, access to learning tools (pencil, sharpener, paper, notebooks), distinct learning areas, teacher's desk is organized, teacher's professional library is accessible, filing cabinet

Establish s safe, caring, and healthy environment
character traits display, recycling area, compost, open spaces, properly organized tools and resources, electrical cord management

Interviews, conferences, and learning conversations in groups, pairs, and individually
guided working area, reading area, dynamic seating based on task, ear defenders for quiet work

Apply progressive discipline in a way that students learn to make better choices
positive behaviour reward chart, classroom charter

Personal learning supports
access to assistive technology (hardware/software), variety of reference materials around the room (anchor charts, books, dictionaries, thesauruses), early finisher activities

Students and teachers are co-creators of the learning environment 
co-produced student charter, classroom jobs list, whiteboard to construct success criteria together

Learning skills and work habits are communicated to parents
homework out/in basket, homework pickup area, agenda board


Now for the challenge, how to implement all of this, plus some other ideas I have floating around in my head.

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