My feed is full of great stories from fellow teachers beginning a new school year. Many are inspiring me with the depth of thought that goes into starting a new school year. I especially liked this post from my new 2nd grade colleague, Nora, who reminded me in her post to take a minute to appreciate the special, clean start of a new year before everything levels up.
Today I read a post I have been waiting a year for. My friend Jocelyn in Singapore did amazing things with her learning space this time last year. She is not the type of person to sit with the status quo so I was super intrigued to see where she would head this year. She did not disappoint. Jocelyn has refined her thinking and continued her research all in the name of best supporting her students. She herself even says of her new learning spaces:
I also know that removing the 1 desk & chair per child will encourage me to adapt and broaden my teaching practice to move beyond ‘desk work’ activities.
I really respect the way she is leaning in on the third teacher to help her kids learn best. Jocelyn’s entire post which includes links to last year’s learning environment post, is definitely worth reading in its entirety. My biggest takeaway was the need for a variety of spaces in your classroom. Spaces known as: the cave, the watering hole, and the campfire:
As per Jocelyn’s post, these spaces are described as:
CAVES: This is a space where students can reflect independently, journal or read. It allows students to process what they’ve learned and allows students private quiet time.
WATERING HOLES: This is the social space where students collaborate, share thinking and can work in small groups. Watering holes foster relationships in the classroom and encourage students to expand their friendship circles through mixed grouping opportunities.
CAMPFIRES: This space is used for whole class gatherings for morning meetings, storytelling, celebrations and presentations by experts. It stands as a ritual for bringing the entire classroom community together in one friendly space.
It’s never too late to change. Take a look at your room. Do you have these types of spaces in your learning environment? Could you? How might you #cultivate your learning spaces?