Ms Kellers Language Arts Middle School Classroom

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Ms Kellers Language Arts Middle School Classroom

By: kokeller

In my first year teaching, I chose to design my classroom with a flexible seating layout. I remember years of my own education, sitting in uncomfortable desks that were either too big, or too small, unable to focus on my own learning due to the squeaky old chairs that I was asked to sit in for 6-7 hours a day. This classroom layout provides a variety of options for all kinds of learners. The tables are arranged into groups of 5-6 to facilitate group work, though students have a variety of seating options available at each table. On the first day of school, students are taught about the procedures and mentality that should accompany this type of classroom. The rules are very simple: 1. Choose the seat where you will be most comfortable AND most productive. This encourages students to be metacognitive about their learning process. If one seat is not effective for them on a given day, they learn to file that away and choose a different seat next time. Some students work better if they're comfortable, some if they're not. Some students need to be close to the front of the room, some work better in the back. In the beginning of the school year, I will occasionally reflect on seating choices with individual students to help guide them to better choices, but typically students are aware of the best seating options for themselves. 2. You may not sit at the same table group two class periods in a row. This helps students to try out the different seating options, rather than always trending towards the same area. I also explain to the students that different days may require different seating, depending on how they're feeling. Our school is on a rotating block schedule, so students do not always have me at the same time. As an example, I explain that if they are the type of person who takes a while to wake up in the mornings, the couch seat might not be the best choice on days when they have my class first block of the day, as they may be tempted to fall back asleep in such a comfortable seating option. Additionally, I have a stand-up table at the rear of the room for days when students are feeling particularly energized. This allows them to stand instead of sit while working and the table is near the rear of the classroom so that their dancing around does not cause a distraction for their classmates. 3. You may not sit with the same people two days in a row. This helps in two ways. First, it allows students the opportunity to sit with their friends or people who they feel that they work well with, though I explain that I reserve the right to tell two students that they may no longer sit near each other if it proves to be an ineffective working environment. However, it also forces students to branch out and meet the rest of the students in their class as they may not sit with the same people every day and thus cannot spend every single day sitting only with their friends. Second, it allows students to work with a variety of partners and get the input from all different students when doing group share activities. It creates a more cohesive learning environment and eliminates the possibility of in class "cliques" developing. Each table is provided with a small supply bucket that includes markers, colored pencils, two pairs of scissors, four glue sticks, and two pencils. This is so that students will always have access to supplies if they happened to forget their supplies at home. However, by having a designated amount of supplies that must be in each supply bucket, I am able to effectively keep track of the supplies I provide to my students so that the supplies do not mysteriously go missing... I have designed this classroom to be a bright and welcoming environment where students can feel safe, comfortable, and excited about coming to class. There is a "comfy couch" in the back corner of the room where students are allowed to sit ONLY after they have finished all of their assignments and have spare time for silent reading. (This couch is almost too comfortable to be considered a viable option for productive and engaged learning, though it does provide incentive for students to want to read when they're finished with their work.) The blue couch area is one of the 6 seating areas, and includes space for 3-4 students on the couch, one in the directors chair, and up to 2 students sitting on the floor if they would like. I have clipboards available to these students so that they have a hard surface to write on. The bookshelf is filled with age-appropriate reading options for students and color coded into various genres for students to browse and borrow. On the left side of the bookshelf is a collection of "comfort objects" for students who may be having a bad day and need a little extra love. The animals are available for students to grab without causing a fuss as a silent way of signaling to me that they're not having the best day so that I can then find a way to support their learning without making their day worse. Overall, I have seen this classroom be hugely influential in the success of my students. Students come to class excited and ready to learn. In the coming years, my hope is to improve the quality of the seating and table options. As my campus is fairly old, there wasn't much available to use and as such I've had to supplement most of the furniture from my own scavenging through thrift stores and discount furniture stores. Despite the hard work that it sometimes takes to maintain a classroom like this, I wouldn't change a thing!

HackClassroomMiddleLiteracy12-35 StudentsBlended LearningDiscussionGroup WorkPersonalized LearningColorLightingOrganizationChairsTablesSoft SeatingProjector

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