This week we were asked to take our classroom and redesign it to be a maker space for the 21st Century learner. We used Sketch Up to make a 3D model of what our ideal classroom would look like. Instead of going crazy and making my dream classroom, I tried to stay realistic with how I could change my current classroom for next year.
I currently teach first grade at an American School in Dubai. I am lucky enough to receive plenty of resources, but unfortunately I don’t get to pick what furniture I would like to have in the classroom. Since it is the end of the year and I can redesign (and hopefully use the design) before next school year! You can see in the picture below that I already have good tables for collaboration but I would like to take it to the next step and create a space that is just for my students.
1. Table placement: I stumbled upon an article called Mixed Reality Environments as Collaborative and Constructive Learning Spaces for Elementary School Children. Kritzenberger, Winkler, and Herczeg wrote that, “children collaboratively create their own mixed reality environment. During this working process the children get involved as active participants creating something meaningful to themselves and others.” (p. 3). I interpreted this as a collaborative learning environment with the use of technology and other manipulatives as a resource. Since I know I won’t be able to change the tables that I have, round tables in small groups would be the best option for my classroom.
2. Table changes: I often have my students use mini white boards to plan or practice during different lessons. Instead of using the boards, I would like to make white board table tops! I got this idea from another teacher on her blog and it’s a cheap and simple way to create collaborative tables to enable brainstorming, practicing and many other things. While reading another blog, I gathered the idea to add casters (rollers) on the legs to make them mobile and easy to move. I also enjoyed the idea of the foam on the floor to create a comfortable space no matter where a student is making.
3. Adding Natural Light: After browsing through 79 WAYS YOU CAN USE DESIGN TO TRANSFORM TEACHING + LEARNING I decided to take the idea of using full spectrum bulbs in the classroom. Yes, I have windows…that look out into an atrium. I would love to add natural light to my class and brighten student learning!
4. Remove the teacher’s desk: Another idea I took away from the 79 ways article was to get rid of my desk. Yes, I would still use the computer area for instructional use but getting rid of a desk actually gives student’s full control of their learning environment. It’s their space, not mine.
From those visions, this is how I imagine my classroom…
Bird’s Eye View:
Resources and Costs (All from Amazon):
Total Cost: $293
The cost is not very much considering the change I think it would make in the classroom.
Stalkholders: Since I work at a private, for profit school in Dubai there aren’t many options of how I can raise the money. I would have to propose an offer to my superintendent, who would then have to get approval from the owner of the company. I think the best option for me would be to buy the materials myself and use it for future years. I would just need permission from the school to put white board paint and casters on the tables.
Implementation: This new environment would be used to begin the year. Students would learn from the very beginning how to use the space properly and it will become a part of their daily routine.
Look for future blogs to see if I can make this dream a reality!
Kritzenberger, H., Winkler, T., & Herczeg, M. (2002). Mixed reality environments as collaborative and constructive learning spaces for elementary school children. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), P.O. Box 3728, Norfolk, VA 23514. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/62158367?accountid=12598
OWP/P Architects, VS Furniture, & Bruce Mau Design. (2010). The third teacher: 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching & learning. Retrieved from http://thethirdteacherplus.com/s/79-Ideas-Overall-List.pdf
Pronovost, R. (2014, January 4). Making a Makerspace: The Physical Space is (relatively) Finished! Retrieved June 18, 2015 from http://elementaryedtech.com/2014/01/04/making-a-makerspace-the-physical-space-is-relatively-finished/
Uppman, K. (2014, June 20). Classroom DIY: Whiteboard Tables – Sprout Classrooms. Retrieved June 18, 2015 from http://sproutclassrooms.com/classroom-diy-whiteboard-tables/