This term my class and I have embarked on the task of trying to redevelop our classroom space. As I mentioned in my previous post we had some assistance from a local business man, Hamish McMillan to start us thinking about what we wanted and how we could do it. The top five changes included a basketball ring over the rubbish bin, new chair designs, a chill out space, arena seating and blocking out our glass windows.The ideas part was the easy bit – how to make the changes has proven to be a bit more difficult.
Basketball Ring Bin – this is still in progress. However, the class has now decided that we can throw rubbish into the bin (with the exception of messy yoghurts, etc) but if they miss they need to pick up 10 pieces of rubbish from the classroom or outside. This is proving to be quite amusing with one boy picking up 50 pieces of rubbish before he decided to just put the paper straight into the bin.
Blocking out the windows – we have decided to look at getting curtains for our windows but are still waiting to see how far our budget will stretch. For the time being we have stuck colourful artwork on the glass.
Arena and different seating – this was an interesting activity. We started by investigating the different seats that were available and the students soon discovered that seats cost a lot more than they thought! We discussed what it was that they meant by arena seating and discovered that it really meant that they wanted to sit in different ways when being given instructions – this has involved sitting outside, moving tables and sitting on the floor and rearranging seats.
Chill Out Space – this has been were we have made the most progress and had a lot of fun. We talked about what a chill out space was and what we would want to use it for. They decided that they wanted a spot that they could choose to work quietly in that was comfortable and different from their desks. We ended up forming a small committee of students who went and researched what things we could buy and how we could set up the space. They decided that they wanted beanbags (which kind of addressed the different seating issue) and nice carpet to sit on. One of the students found a picture of a PVC cube on the internet and shared this with the class. They all liked the idea of having a set space, like a room in the classroom. From there we did a bit of maths and had to work out what area of floor space we could spare. We rearranged all the tables and chairs and then marked out the space on the floor to see if we had the space to create this.
The students then went to the IKEA website to look at what furniture and carpet we could afford to put in our space. Eventually, my husband came in helped a group of boys make the cube. From there we have decorated and furnished the space.
The class developed a set of rules for the use of the space and seem to really enjoy using it. It has been used as a space to work on Ipads, for silent reading for completing work and just for ‘chilling’ out.
This has been a great activity to do with the class. It was interesting to hear the things that they came up with and then watch them decide what was actually going to work and what might not. The class have felt a real ownership with this activity. It is something that they have seen start from a small idea and develop into a space that they can all use. They now realise that the classroom is their space and that they are able to make changes to it and suggest ways to make it better and that we will listen and take their ideas on-board. There is still things that we are working on but we are getting there.