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Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need Flexible classrooms give students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them, and help them to work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking. Since implementing flexible classrooms, Albemarle County Public Schools have noticed that: Their students' grades have improved.Their students seem happier and more engaged.Their students are participating more and having more invigorating conversations. Giving Students a Choice in How They Learn "From day one, I've said, 'You may sit anywhere you like as long as you're safe in our classroom,'" says Katie Collins, a Woodbrook Elementary School second grade teacher. Becky Fisher, the director of educational technology at Albemarle County Public Schools, is interested in learning about the thinking that drives student choice. She painted the picture of walking into a classroom and seeing kids: Lying on the floorSitting at low tables on their kneesStanding up Related:  klassrumsmiljöUniversal Design for Learning and Brain Based Learning

Sample classroom floor plans A Traditional Classroom (see floor plan) A traditional classroom is often set with the desks in rows, the teacher’s desk or table somewhere in front of the room, and student desks moved far enough apart to prevent easy wandering of eyes during tests. This arrangement packs desks into the room efficiently and lets student have easy access to their seats, but it certainly does not have to be the default room arrangement. The learning environment should be designed according to learning objectives and desired outcomes not just habit or a janitor’s best guess. However, this arrangement is probably the best for controlling behavior, ensuring that there is space for you to walk, preventing cheating on traditional testing days. Discussions & Debates (see floor plan) Discussions, debates, and many other interactive classroom activities, where the whole class is looking and listening and contributing, probably work better if the students’ seats are somehow facing each other.

New guide offers tips to use UDL for personalized learning New guide explains benefits of UDL as a framework for creating learning-driven environments and how districts can put theory into practice The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for K-12 education specifically endorses Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a set of principles that require teachers and students to shift roles as they collaborate around student-driven learning paths. It’s a significant departure from the traditional classroom approach, and transforming a learning environment doesn’t happen overnight. To help schools navigate the sea of change to more personalized learning, itslearning, developer of the itslearning learning management system, has published a new guide titled “How To Make Personalized Learning a Reality in Your District.” The 18-page PDF explains the stages and steps to creating a learner-driven environment powered by the UDL approach, how technology can support the integration, and questions to ask when considering which learning platform to choose.

Classroom Seating Arrangement Good morning! :) One of the most important things to me is how you arrange your classroom. -Can my students all see the SMARTboard from their desks without having to turn around? Sometimes I have to arrange the room, and then tweak it a little to make sure all of the above questions are answered YES. I've had my desks arranged in many different ways during the years. When I taught specials classes and had mostly small groups of kids at one time (between 6-10 kids most of the day), I had my classroom set up with my meeting table in the middle. If you want to see some examples of my classroom seating arrangement, you can see one of my previous posts about how to set up your classroom. I love several of these arrangements... especially the one in the middle on the right. I also found this awesome site: Classroom Desk Arrangement. This Pinterest Board has a lot of great classroom ideas! Scholastic also has a pretty cool Classroom Set-Up tool. That's all she wrote,

12 Ways to Support ESL Students in the Mainstream Classroom You have a new student, and he speaks no English. His family has just moved to your town from Japan, and though he receives English as a Second Language (ESL) support, he will also be sitting in your room every day to give him more exposure to his new language. How can you be a good teacher to someone who barely understands you? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, an average of 9 percent of students in U.S. public schools are English Language Learners (ELLs); that number is closer to 14 percent in cities. How prepared are you to teach these students? Below, three ESL teachers tell us what they know about the things regular classroom teachers can do to improve instruction for ELL students. “Avoid giving instructions in the air,” says Melissa Eddington, an Ohio-based ESL teacher. Mary Yurkosky, a former ESL teacher in Massachusetts, credits much of her students’ success to the strong relationship she had with the regular classroom teachers. References:

A Place for Learning: The Physical Environment of Classrooms I was supervising a teacher who was enrolled in our program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that focused on developing student self-knowledge, ego strength, trust and community in classrooms. We had created a manual with over 50 classroom lessons. She was teaching at a high school in an economically depressed district in northern Appalachia. She called me in a state of frustration. "I've used dozens of the exercises you guys developed, and they're not the least bit interested. There's no sense of community, and the trust level is non-existent. Students Take Ownership So I visited the class. I suggested that she ditch the exercises and work with the class to totally change the physical environment. They spent six weeks doing little else. There are at least two lessons from this story. The physical structure of a classroom is a critical variable in affecting student morale and learning. The Custodian’s Favorite Arrangement Here's a related story. More Ideas, More Resources

3 Tips to Make Any Lesson More Culturally Responsive (And it’s not what you think!) Last month, I reviewed Zaretta Hammond’s fantastic book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. Now I’m proud to have Zaretta here as a guest writer to share some specific strategies with us. Culturally responsive teaching. Everybody is talking about it. The big question is: How do you actually make lessons culturally responsive? That comes up regularly when I am working with groups of teachers to improve outcomes for diverse students who are struggling. I suggested that we explore making lessons more culturally relevant in order to accelerate student learning. I couldn’t blame her. One of the biggest misconceptions about culturally responsive teaching is thinking you have to tie the lesson’s content to African American or Latino students’ racial background. In reality, culturally responsive teaching is less about using racial pride as a motivator and more about mimicking students’ cultural learning styles and tools. Stick around.Join my mailing list and never miss another post.

Bo Hejlskov Elvéns blogg Nyligen blev jag ombett att kommentera några arkitektritningar på en F-6-skola som ska byggas i en skånsk kommun. De fem yngsta årskurserna skulle ha klassrum på bottenvåningen och sjätteklassarna en liten egen avdelning på andra våningen, som liksom stack upp över ettplansskolan. Mitt i sjätteklassernas avdelning hade arkitekterna ritat en loftgång runt en fem meter bred öppning ner till en centralhall, just innanför entrédörrarna. Byggnaders utformning har stor betydelse för människans beteende. Förr i tiden diskuterade vi huruvida funktionsnedsättningar var en konsekvens av arv eller miljö. Det borde ikke vara en överraskning för människor som arbetar i omsorgen eller särskolan. Det betyder att alla påverkas av de fysiska ramarna, men att graden av påverkan ökas med funktionsnedsättningen. Det finns några olika sätt som den fysiska miljön påverkar beteendet på: Direkt sinnesmässig påverkan En stor del av de människor som bor i LSS-boenden har ganska stora sinnesmässiga avvikelser.

If You Teach At-Risk Kids, You Need This Book (Hint: It's not Ruby Payne) Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students by Zaretta Hammond, 192 pages, Corwin, November 2014Buy Now [The links in this article are Amazon Affiliate links. If you click these and make a purchase from Amazon, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For eight years, I taught at-risk students. I think about Dion, one of my seventh graders, who sat listlessly through most of my classes, whose assignments were always half-finished, who always scored low on tests, who used his cute, slow smile as a cover any time I tried to push him to get his work done. The discussion often went like this: “What do you think is the problem here?” Dion shrugged. From another teacher: “And what do you need to do differently?” Another shrug. Nothing changed. If we had read Zaretta Hammond’s book, Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain Awareness. .

Collaborative Learning Spaces: Classrooms That Connect to the World Editor's note: This post is co-authored by Fran Siracusa, co-founder of and educational technologist for Calliope Global. As citizens of the world, students in today's classrooms seek global contexts for learning. Opportunities for networked and international collaborations are bringing both the world to classrooms and classrooms to the world. With a focus on international standards of instruction, globally-minded programs inspire students to be curious through investigation and reflective in analysis of thought. These pathways lead to the development of cultural literacy by allowing students to examine issues of global significance through interconnected sharing of experience and exchange of ideas. By examining the landscape of the classroom, educators can design collaborative learning spaces that will support the teaching and learning of skills needed for the interconnected world of today and tomorrow. 1. 2. 3.

Memorizing Music: The Two Most (and the Two Least) Efficient Strategies 3 2Share Synopsis Not all memorization strategies are created equal. Making the bed in the morning is one of those activities in life that seems like a questionable use of time. Then again, as a fundamentally lazy person, I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient. Not that all shortcuts are better, of course. Which takes us to memorization, which is probably everyone’s least favorite thing to do ever, but also one of the biggest sources of worry and anxiety for musicians. Usually, when we ask questions about memorization, it’s oriented around the issue of effectiveness. Obviously, we’d prefer a strategy that is both efficient and effective, but an effective strategy that takes forever isn’t much good to us either. In one study of pianists working on the Bach D minor Prelude and Fugue, for instance, it took an average of ~14 hours to memorize the piece – but some pianists memorized the piece in less than 10 hours, while others needed almost 20 hours. That’s a pretty big difference.

Well-designed classrooms can boost learning progress in primary school pupils by16%, new research reveals Tuesday 24 February 2015 For the first time, clear-evidence has been found that well-designed primary school classrooms can boost learning progress in reading, writing and maths. This is according to the results of the HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and undertaken by The University of Salford. Published today (Wednesday 25 February 2015) in a new report - ‘Clever Classrooms’ - the research reveals how differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms, such as air quality, colour and light, can together increase the learning progress of primary school pupils by as much as 16% in a single year. Read the 'Clever Classrooms' report here Read the 4 page summary report here This is the first time that clear evidence of the effect on learning progress of the overall design of the physical learning space has been isolated in real-life situations. The 'Clever Classrooms' report is available here

Remixing Special Ed: Reaching Marginalized Students Through Music Technology – Soundfly In many American cities, public school music education is facing extinction. In the 2014-2015 New York City public school year, only 23% of high school students had music programs on-site. For someone like me, a conservatory grad with a passion for music technology, improvisation, and education, it’s nearly impossible to find traditional classroom work. And that’s how I found myself working with a non-traditional group of music students — a demographic that’s typically excluded from artistic (and professional) fields due to decades-old prejudices that many learning organizations have trouble seeing past. The special needs community, at all academic levels, has been left out of the music education conversation almost entirely. With public funds for arts education being as low as they are, art curricula for those with developmental disabilities are harder to develop, harder to teach, and thus harder to come by in general. Using Technology to Overcome Physical Disability “I made that?!

7 Learning Zones Every Classroom Must Have There are many elements to consider as you plan for the next school year. You always review critical pieces like standards, curriculum, instructional activities, and testing, but you also think about the classroom space and how to arrange desks, set up bulletin boards, and organize materials. You can bring these seemingly disconnected components together in a system of seven learning zones. 1. The discovery zone houses all those items that spark imagination. 2. The news zone will help you manage your classroom calendar, assignments and projects, school-wide events, holidays, upcoming celebrations, weather, temperature, and community and world news. 3. The supplies zone is sure to save your sanity. 4. A community zone serves multiple purposes. 5. Sharing the classroom space with 20 or more other kids isn't always easy. 6. The teacher zone serves as your little oasis away from home, but it also helps you manage all of your professional responsibilities. 7.