Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Room Deconstructed

This post is meant to explain some decisions I have made with the set up of our classroom. I won't know if it is successful for some time. When we (teachers) make this many choices for our community we are bound to make some mistakes. 

This first picture is what you see against the back wall, right when you walk into the room.
 This area is meant to be a place where students can relax, read a book, or catch some educational videos. I have a couple exercise balls that will be placed in the area later. I am not sure that this is the right space for them yet, I may be better served having them used by the students at their desks or tables.
 Above the relaxation area are two frames full of school memorabilia from when I attended this school and later attended our high school. The left frame shows a few examples of the grades I earned. I was not a great student at the elementary or junior high level. In retrospect I see how lazy and disinterested in school I was. There really was very little beyond the library that interested me. Also included is my high school graduation program and my acceptance into Missouri Southern's Honors Program. I plan to have conversations with my students about how I changed from being a poor student to a good one and the reward I earned from the hard work.

The frame on the right contains reminders of the extra-curricular activities I participated in as a student. There is a picture of myself in our 8th grade play, A Little Rascals Christmas. I have a newspaper picture of me making a tackle during a football game as a senior. (My form is pretty sweet too :) I also have some clippings from being on the golf team. I really think being active outside of class helped me to be a better student.
 This is our class library. It doesn't yet have a lot of books because I left my classroom library behind when I left 5th grade three years ago. The reason it is mobil is because I want to be able to move things around the room easily. I can create large areas of space very quickly this way.
This is my IWB. My plan is to use it mostly for small group work. I think its value lies literally in the hands of the students. 
 This the is the back, left corner of the room when you walk in. It consists of a record player, a sound board, amplifier, and a couple large speakers. I can hook up the electric guitar and my electric ukulele for the students to play with. They can also play with the conga drum. I am hoping to spend some time teaching the students how to read chords and play some rhythms. How great would it be if we formed a band?
 I pinned this shirt on the bulletin board because I love the pop art feel of it. The shirt is from Walt Disney World (my preferred vacation destination) and it depicts a cowboy holding a churro. I read an article where the artist said that the picture was inspired by Sergio Leone's westerns. I included this in my room because I want my students to be inspired by real art. I also have a couple Ork prints that I will be putting up later after I find the right frames. Hopefully we soon will have a lot of student art work on the walls as well.
 On the left wall I have a station with two computers that will be used by the students. I have enough computers for each of my small groups to have computer access.
 Underneath the computers is a shelf where I have hung grow lights. We will be growing plants soon. I wonder if our community will choose flowers or food? I am hoping for food ;)
 This is a 50 inch HD TV I bought for the classroom. I have hooked up a Blu-Ray player and an Apple TV. I can mirror my iPad or my iPhone onto the television screen and this gives us a lot of flexibility. Students will be able to manipulate the images using the iPad. We will be able to see our class videos without covering the windows and blocking the natural light. I really can't wait to see how we find different ways to use this.
 Here is our class aquarium. It is empty because the community is going to decide what we will put in it. Here is the lesson plan we will be using. I sure hope they make a wise decision. I don't want dead fish floating in it.
 This is my Photosmart printer which allows me to print wirelessly from my iPad, iPhone, or Nexus 7. This is going to be mainly used for printing pictures documenting our year together. Soon we will have pictures being placed around the room by the students which show what they are learning. Below is an example.

 Above my desk (more on that later) are my diplomas and a few certificates I have earned. I want my students to be aware of my accomplishments. This is important because I am a hometown boy and I want them to know that being from Noel does not mean having to work at the local chicken processing plant.
 Here is my desk. I tried very hard to do without a desk, but I just couldn't do it. I really need a place to call my own. Because I realize how important it is for me, I have integrated that thinking into my classroom. I have three tables in my room for students to sit at and eight desks. The desks are put together in a table arrangement but I have explained that if a student needs to take a desk and move it away from the crowd so they have their own 'space' they can. We need to be very cognizant of the students that need to feel ownership of something in the room to be comfortable.
 Finally, as you leave my room this is what you see above the door. This was a gift from my brother because I am a fan of Spongebob. I put this up because I want my students to see that I appreciate having fun. It is a both a insight into my personality and an opportunity for the students to see that enjoying something that may not seem 'cool' is okay in my classroom.