I finished my preparations for the room this evening. Tomorrow morning, I’ll greet my first students of the year. I’ve got some items I want to add to the room – namely a whiteboard on the back blank wall and a few more small bookshelves along the wall opposite the door.
I’m mostly excited about having my desks in groups of four, but a little voice in the back of my head is busy naysaying. As far as I know, no other teachers at my school use groups as their standard setup. I’m committing myself to giving it at least a month, but hopeful that I can start to really change the way I teach to match the classroom setup. The addition of iPads in students’ hands will drive further change. In fact, the initial reason I went with groups this way is so students will not sit in the same desk every day of the week – they will rotate in their group. That way, no student will always have his back to me or the wall.
I know I will incorporate other seating arrangements and configurations for various purposes. Whole-class seminars require moving into circles, and presentations will require students to face the traditional “front.” But here’s hoping that the physical will work with the mental setup in my room to aid my flipping and student-centering of the learning.
Plus, I got to keep a memento or two from my stint housing the library collection. Can’t argue with having more books in my classroom!