What if classroom set up was seen as a community activity?

Maybe teachers don't need to work so hard before the student's arrive to set up their classrooms.

Photo of Mark Silberberg

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At my school (and I assume many others), teachers and kids pack up the rooms at the end of the year so that rooms can be used for other purposes (our summer camp takes over at my school). There then follows a tension around the start of the year to find the right balance between PD time and work time for teachers to set up their rooms.

What if we left the majority of the boxed content in the boxes as an invitation for teachers and students to literally build the classroom community at the start of the year? This would allow for valuable conversations about the content of the boxes, how they will be used and where they should go to best support student learning. I worry sometimes that even with the best of intentions, classroom design done only by the teacher is likely to put teacher needs ahead of student needs. 

How might the school year unfold differently if the building of our learning spaces becomes one of our important beginning of the year routines? Easy to see how this would resonate for younger learners, but I think that there might be an even more profound impact with older learners.


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Photo of Brett Brownell

Hi Mark, I wanted to let you know that we were inspired by your contribution and we discussed it during our recent Interpret workshop, where we created opportunity areas (or "Missions") for the Ideate phase. Specifically, it helped us develop the "Changing Physical Spaces" Mission. We'd love to have you continue to be involved in the collaboration by posting an idea to the Ideate phase! It can be about space, or something else you think would help establish rituals and routines around innovation. Looking forward to working with you more!

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