Arianna Lambert and Larissa Aradj, the Twitter chat moderators, asked participants to add photos of their classrooms / learning environments to the chat. I forgot to take photos beforehand so here are some of my pictures.
|View from when you first walk in the library|
|Looking towards the fiction/non-fiction section|
|Something new-leather couches! (Note bare walls)|
|Another comfy couch area with Sir Bob the Knight|
|More couches (w/ bean bag chair) - was going to replace w/ leather ones but kept -kids love it|
Zelia Capitao Tavares mentioned in her answer to the second question (What does your learning environment look like?) that she got feedback from her previous year's students and the class has less furniture and more seating choice with space to move about. I love that Zelia had the wherewithal to ask her students before the first day. I know my colleague Diana Hong has solicited advice from her new students; they have already rearranged the room she prepared, out of data projector necessity, and they plan on doing at least one other reorganization of the space during the year.
In 2013, I wrote a blog post about revamping my library layout with deliberate intent. (It's here - https://mondaymollymusings.blogspot.ca/2013/09/layout-illustrating-intent.html) It's fascinating to see the differences from four years ago. I mentioned in the 2017 Twitter chat that I "went a bit Reggio" in removing some of the old Blue Spruce posters that had been hanging since before I was the teacher-librarian. It feels cleaner, bigger, and brighter now. (Those who are familiar with actual Reggio Emilia approach will realize that I'm only scratching the surface of the approach with regards to the environment.)DONE!!! Finally. I'm so tired. 😩😫 Flexible seating ✔️ Blank walls ✔️ Self-serve areas ✔️ All that's left is the schedule. #back2school pic.twitter.com/2p37M02Iow— Diana Hong😺 (@wonderoom) September 1, 2017
This "less is more" also applies to my book shelves. I try to choose one section per year to weed and I've started early on my fiction section. I didn't have enough space to properly shelve my chapter books and they were sitting forlornly on my shelving cart waiting for a space that didn't exist or even lying on top of the books in their usual place. It's a great chance for me to get reacquainted with my novel collection, get rid of some books that are out-of-date or in poor condition, and make space on the shelves for even newer books!
How has this "bare-er space" worked out so far? Well, I was going to title today's post "sometimes I'm the solution, sometimes I'm the problem". My Grade 1-8 students have been non-plussed by the changes. My new kindergarten students had mixed reactions to the library. I tried to keep some things out of sight so they wouldn't be overwhelmed with choice and too many tempting toys, but one little one made a beeline for the back and pitched a fit when I had to redirect her because I couldn't properly supervise her in that area or allow her to take down all the hidden toys. I wasn't proud of some of the ways I handled a few of our assertive / defiant / stressed new junior kindergarten students this week, although I was pleased by one incident, where I removed a student from another prep teacher's classroom to calm him down (because he was throwing chairs and endangering himself and others) and he settled down so well that he fell asleep on me in the library and stayed unconscious for forty-five minutes. Thankfully, the Grade 6-7 class I had at the time were extremely accommodating and let me co-teach part of the class on the floor with a sleeping child on my lap and shoulder. (The wheeled chair meant I was able eventually to scoot up and be a bit more visible.) I think it's easier to stay calm and provide valuable assistance when you aren't the one in charge of the class - maybe this is why Kerri Commisso kept such a level head and stepped in to help care for the other students when I was faced with a youngster with a massive nose bleed in a kindergarten class with no ECE. (Thanks Kerri!)
The #tdsbEd chat site can be found at https://sites.google.com/a/tdsb.on.ca/tdsbed/ - the schedule of chat themes and dates can be found there.