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A Place for Learning: The Physical Environment of Classrooms

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. 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. A Short Course in Classroom Arrangement It's conventional wisdom that different types of instruction require different seating arrangements. More Ideas, More Resources Well-Being and Motivation Related:  Skolplanering, processCoaching & Professional Learning

8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom Editor's Note: Author David Bill is a designer and educator who consulted with The Third Teacher+ on the Remake Your Class project highlighted in the videos below. The tips in this post go along with the companion video. We are excited by the simplicity (and low price tag!) If you're thinking of completing your own classroom remake project, good for you. The tips below can be used for smaller scale remakes right way. Whether you are looking to reorganize one corner or redesign the entire room, here are eight tips that may help you throughout the process. 1. Students are your primary users and should be at the center of such a remake process. Create Visual Inspiration Ask parents, colleagues or friends to donate a variety of appropriate magazines. Digitally, you can utilize Pinterest as a way for to create a "board" of inspiration. Students Define Pain Points Is there anything unsatisfying about the present setup? 10x10x10 Student Helpers 2. Word Association Classroom Flow Sticky Notes 3. 4.

Administration • Interview with Peter C. Lippman Author of... Are You a Teacher-Leader? - Getting Smart by Susan Lucille Davis - edchat, edreform, leadership Teachers are master problem-solvers. They learn quickly to adjust on the fly as they react boldly and deftly in a moment’s response, whether to students’ endless questions about how to and what if, to the numerous disruptions blaring from a PA system, or to adapting their lesson plans because the Internet is down…again. When it comes to their own classrooms, teachers do not hesitate to meet daily obstacles and challenges head-on. It’s their job, after all. But solving the problem of changing and reforming the very nature of the schools they work in is a different story. Why? What We Talk About When We Talk About Teacher-Leaders I recently put this question – why isn’t every teacher a teacher-leader – in somewhat different form, to the new teachers at my school who meet weekly to discuss issues and best practices in education. Do you feel a sense of purpose? A sense of purpose provides direction and motivation in any teacher-leader’s professional life. We struggled with this one.

20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking 20 Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking by TeachThought Staff This is part 1 in our #iteachthought campaign. This is our equivalent to “back to school,” and is intended to help you focus in the 2015-2016 school year on taking a thoughtful approach to your craft as a teacher. Part 1: Classroom Setups That Promote Thinking Part 2: Learning Profiles: What Great Teachers Know About Their Students Part 3: 50 Questions To Ask Your Students On The First Day Of School Learning Is An Ecology Can how you setup your classroom impact how students think? Desks are a staple of the ‘modern’ classroom as we know it. So what can we do? So, the bit about “classroom setups impacting thinking.” You can also setup a “Google Room” or “Maker Space” and not promote thinking at all, or have students performing stunning cognitive acrobatics sitting by themselves on a cold floor. Note, we’ve placed an asterisk* beside those approaches that are more strongly suited to “thought” than others. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8. 9.

”Det bästa som finns i ett klassrum är hörn” Oavsett om det rör sig om att rita en hel skolbyggnad från grunden eller bara att flytta runt borden i ett klassrum så ska rummet formas utifrån hur människor faktiskt beter sig – inte utifrån hur vi vill att de ska bete sig. Det återkommer Peter Lippman till ofta. Han tycker att den rådande internationella trenden i lärmiljöer - stora öppna ytor - visar på två saker: Arkitekter saknar kunskap om hur människor lär sig saker, och skolföreträdare saknar kunskap om det rumsliga. – Det finns många arkitekter som påstår att ”jag kan det här med att definiera ytor och skapa lärmiljöer” fast att de egentligen inte har förstått vad det handlar om. Peter Lippman har studerat och designat skolmiljöer i tjugo år. 2010 släppte han en bok där han skriver om ”evidensbaserad design” i skolan. – I skolans värld är det visserligen inte alltid lika tydligt vad som fungerar bra, och det som fungerar på ett ställe fungerar inte automatiskt på nästa. – Hur lär sig folk?

Teach Me: Student-Led Instruction Strategies Teaching tools, tricks, and ideas are an essential component of a teacher’s ‘arsenal’ when it comes to having engaged students and strong teachable moments. The one tool that I rely heavily upon is a concept I termed as ‘Teach Me,’ though you may heard it called by other terms. Simply, the idea behind Teach Me is when the teacher lets the student teach a concept to them. The student goes through the whole concept, or study, giving it to you in extreme detail. Benefits of the "Teach Me" Learning Exercise Lets you see where a child needs reinforcementTeach Me is a way to put the power of learning into the hands of your student/learnerAllows students to be the teacherAllows, and gets students, to recall -- in detail what they have learnedGives them ownership over the learningIncreases a student's verbal communication skillsGives a student multiple ways to remember and retain information that they have learned 4 Specific Goals of Student-led Instruction 1. 2. 3. 4. Give it a try, you’ll see.

8 Technologies That Will Shape Future Classrooms What does the future of learning hold? What will classrooms of the future be like? Emerging technologies such as cloud computing, augmented reality (AR) and 3D printing are paving the way for the future of education in ways we may have yet to see. At the very least though, we can extrapolate from what these promising technologies and predict how schools will adopt them in time to come. However, just as the original intentions for new technology often give way to innovative and unpredictable usage, we can never be sure if a twist is waiting for these rising stars. Recommended Reading: Major Tech In Education Trends In 2013 [Infographic] 1. We’re still waiting for Augmented Reality to take the world by storm by way of Google Glass, gaming and awesome apps for astronomy. It’s expected to wow audiences with its AR capabilities, which allow users to see additional information layered over what they see through the lens. Read Also: 5 Top Augmented Reality Apps For Education A New Way To Teach 3. Standards Increasing the effectiveness of professional learning is the leverage point with the greatest potential for strengthening and refining the day-to-day performance of educators. Standards for Professional Learning is the third iteration of standards outlining the characteristics of professional learning that lead to effective teaching practices, supportive leadership, and improved student results. Learning Forward, with the contribution of 40 professional associations and education organizations, developed the Standards for Professional Learning. (See the Standards Revision Task Force and the Standards Advisory Team.) The standards make explicit that the purpose of professional learning is for educators to develop the knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions they need to help students perform at higher levels. Watch Stephanie Hirsh give an overview of the standards These standards call for a new form of educator learning.

Transforming the school library for innovative learning The joy of reading is something that stays with someone for life and for many, this joy has its roots in the school library. Reading for pleasure is also inextricably linked with higher achievement and social mobility, making the school library a place of great importance in a child’s life. While the end goal is the same, the layout of today’s library has changed considerably from even a few years ago to accommodate high demand for technology and the shift from a quiet space to a learning hub for both groups and individuals. It is imperative, therefore, that the design and resourcing of the school library is meticulously planned by those with expert knowledge. School News spoke to industry insiders for advice on refitting the school library. Consider your space Start by looking at your space, advises Scott Reed from Resource Furniture, suppliers to hundreds of school libraries across Australia. Case study: Albany Senior High School, Auckland Questions to consider Space Signage Collection