I walked in to the year 4/5 classroom yesterday to teach child protection…..like I do every Tuesday, only to find the furniture re-arranged and not enough desks and chairs for every child. There were cushions and ‘pillow pets’ scattered on desks.
This classroom had always been set up in groups and group work was embraced by the teacher. Students were use to working collaboratively in programs such as SOLE and IBL, but this change in the classroom learning space was a real shift in thinking by the classroom teacher.
‘Hmmm’, I thought to myself. While I loved the idea, teaching in this environment was very different to what I was use to. How is this going to work? What if every child wants to sit at a desk? How comfortable will it be to stand at the bench to do their work? I don’t know! The classroom teacher didn’t know. All he knew was that he needed to create a learning environment that would enhance student engagement, promote collaboration, in a learning space that allowed easy access to resources.
In the 45 minutes I was in the classroom, students were on the floor. The floor space was now far more accommodating to those students who prefer to be on their stomach. Students were scattered around the floor, some with cushions and ‘pillow pets’, while others were happy to sit or lean against a table. Regardless of how they were positioned on the floor, they were all engaged.
Now……for those of you who have taught child protection, keeping kids engaged is not always easy! But….. these kids were! They were comfortable, and they felt they had some say in how they were going to learn.
This was day two of their ‘new’ classroom. I can’t wait to see how it goes next week!