Walking around schools, I still see rows and rows of desks. What? It's not every classroom, but it shows that some of us are still teaching in the 21st century using 20th century design. So if you are one of those row people (I used to be one too), this post is for you. Some of us are willing to jump in and change everything all at once. But perhaps you want to redesign your classroom in more manageable chunks; dip your toe in the water with one or two changes.
Whatever changes you hope to implement, I highly recommend thinking them through before students set foot in the door. Classroom design should support learning; it needs to be planned and implemented before the school year begins so that your focus can then shift to building relationships with students, teaching content, creating your classroom community, and fine-tuning your classroom design. Here is checklist of sorts for establishing a more flexible space. You can do all of them, one, or a combination of a few. So bust up the rows and make the 2018-2019 a year of positive change for you and your students.
Cell phones. I want them out of middle school classrooms (and elementary school classrooms if by some chance they've made their way into the world of K-6 students). And no, I haven't always wanted them out. This is tech-loving me, doing a 180 degree reversal of where I stood a mere months ago. I once believed that phones were instructional tools that if managed correctly could enhance learning. But the research plus my experience this year has dramatically altered my thinking. Because I care about kids, about teaching and learning, about school communities, and equity, I want these cell phones gone - put in lockers from the moment the first school bell rings until the end of the day. So why the sudden change in my thinking?
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