Monday, July 23, 2012

#KinderBlog2012 - Question 2

Tell us about one (or two, or a few) of the classrooms you have had over the years. Not the kids, the ROOMS. What have you  loved? What have you hated? How did you FEEL in the space? What did you DO with the space that, looking back, seems ridiculous? Or brilliant? We all spend so much time in our classrooms, we really do develop a relationship with the physical space. Tell us about that (those) relationship(s).

In my 20 years of teaching I have taught out of a box, in a hallway, at the back of a staffroom, in a room that was a path through to an adjoining room (twice), in a room with a removable wall, in a kindergarten room complete with bathroom and kitchen, and now in one of the biggest rooms in my school. Each space had its own unique  qualities.

Over the years here are some of the things I loved and hated about my teaching environment:

I loved....
  • being portable
  • teaching in a small, cozy space
  • teaching in an open unstructured space
  • having lots of cupboards/storage
  • having no carpet so I could determine where to put down my carpets
  • having all carpet
  • having visitors join in on our learning as they passed by
  • having a sink in my room
  • having a water fountain in my room
  • having SPACE
  • having windows
  • having bulletin board walls
  • having two doors one leading to the outside, and one leading inside
  • being close to great outside learning spaces

I hated....
  • being portable
  • teaching in a small  space
  • teaching in an open unstructured space
  • having limited storage space
  • having no carpet 
  • having all carpet
  • having visitors interrupt learning
  • having a sink that leaks
  • having little or no windows
  • being away from decent outside learning spaces
  • limited display space
  • having two doors but being allowed to only use one
The room I am in now is without a doubt my most favourite place to be.  I have added furniture, and I have removed furniture, and I have been super over crowed, and fair bit less crowded. My walls have been plastered with children's creations and they have been quite silent too. My room allows me to provide individual workspaces and small group work spaces in addition to a whole class meeting space.  Most of the spaces in my room are used for a variety of functions and the students know that they are free to use them as they see fit. My room is a happy place to be full of different things to discover at every turn.

If I were to make some changes one of the first things I'd like to change is the meeting area by purchasing a bright and "fun" carpet for us to meet on. So far I've been using donated carpets, which while they work, they aren't what I have envisioned for my own room.  But then again I'd prefer to spend my money on professional resources and books for my class library, then on a carpet for my classroom. Anyone have a fun bright carpet to donate?

I'd also love to change the location of some of electrical outlets.  I'm wondering whose bright idea it was to add an electrical outlet near a counter that often has water on it from the leaky sink.  Speaking of leaky sinks, I'd get rid of that too.

If I could the biggest change I would make would be to add  MORE windows.  I have one small window on my outside door, and one small window beside that and that's it.  What I would do for more natural light but that's the era of my school.  It was built in a time when windows were frequently broken and broken windows cost money to repair.  My school has very few windows. 

The one thing I'm most guilty of doing is over loading my room with "tools" for learning.   I have a really hard time getting rid of things, particularly when I see a purpose for them. I also accept most things donated to me because I can always see a use for things. This desire to keep everything has gotten me into a bit of trouble with having too much "stuff" in my room.  But I am getting better at recycling or donating my "stuff" to others.  Right now I have to say that I am really pleased with the way my room functions.  

For the first time in my career, I actually think I will make very little changes to the set up of my classroom this fall. I finally have found a way to make everything I own fit and I've kept my room functioning well too (I think). I've kept in mind that I can have up to 24 students so I've made sure I have desks for that many students.  What's funny though is in the spring I was talking to some administrators about how "perfect"  my room was feeling.  They were quick to say that now that it's "perfect" it might be time to move on to a new room. They might be right.

What is your classroom like? What changes would you make to it? I'd love to hear.

1 comment:

  1. Wishing you windows and a wonderful year next year! Cheers!