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Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need

Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need

>>Pam: The transformation of space has
completely elevated student engagement.>>How do we provide the
environments that kids need? Sometimes to be in their
caves and be private. Sometimes to be at the watering hole, and working in small
collaborative groups. And sometimes in a cross-pollination
where they’re able to really share their work
and work with each other.>>Katie: My kids love to be under
things, behind things, around things. We have five-gallon buckets
in my room that we sit on. We sit on crate seating that I
made in my backyard out of a crate and some plywood and some foam. And I also just threw a lot
of pillows on the floor.>>Offspring is like a
baby, like a baby squirrel. Is that something that might
be important to your research? It might be important.>>From Day 1, I’ve said, “You
may sit anywhere you like as long as you’re safe in our classroom.”>>Teacher: That’s working
out really well. Keep on going.>>Becky: We’re really looking at how do
we support kids working collaboratively? And we can’t do it if we’re isolated
in rows, and every kid’s an island.>>Lisa: The first thing that
has to happen is the teacher has to have a vision for their
room, and a willingness to say, “I’m going to throw out
some of this stuff. I don’t need this traditional
schooling equipment.”>>Becky: When you walk into a room
that we have done, you’ll see tables. You don’t see individual
student workspaces. In some classrooms, you’ll see
at least three kinds of seating. You’ll see flexible bookshelves
that are mobile that can be moved, so that the room can be totally
opened up, or little nooks and crannies can be created.>>Teacher: What do you
know about soil, Lilly?>>Becky: So that everybody
can see everybody, and we can participate as a community.>>Student: It helps plants grow.>>Teacher: Good!>>Becky: How can you do it on a dime? What we found is teachers are
really hitting the streets the week that college kids leave town, and seeing
what they can buy for their classroom.>>Cheryl: This is what I’d
like you to accomplish today.>>The beginning of the year is a good
time to ask, “If any of you have a couch or a chair that you have just sitting
around, the kids would like to read on it, and it could be
a Reading Corner.” And that’s how I started. And then it grew and grew,
because it was so successful.>>Student: Different nooks.>>Teacher: And you’re good at finding
facts and she’s good at typing.>>Student: Yeah.>>Cheryl: When the students
walk in the room, I’ll say, “Sit where you work the best.>>Justin: When I like get down
into a couch and more comfortable, it’s almost like it’s a bit distracting, like it’s not exactly the
environment I want to be working in. But for the other people, clearly they
have their optimum working environments.>>Krishan: Well, Miss
Harris lets us like choose. And also since she lets us choose, we
ultimately choose what’s best for us. We work better together
and individually.>>Katie: I’ve seen the kids
not only be a lot more engaged, but they seem happier, they seem more
likely to engage in conversation.>>Cheryl: Because the space in this
room has evolved throughout the year, the students work has
improved immensely. Their grades have improved. Just the conversations that they have with each other are so
invigorating to hear.

12 thoughts on “Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment That Kids Need

  1. I am sorry need to get email I sorry about you school I spell will I hope read it I hope you find no school so I like what you're doing good luck hi kids

  2. This is an excellent video that provides practical examples of how teachers can transform existing classrooms into 21st century learning environments at little to no cost. The California Department of Education provides guidance on flexible learning environments:

  3. I don't disagree with the philosophy and the flexible nature of classrooms that you are talking about. The statistics at the end of the video look great. But, Albemarle County is the county that contains Charlottesville, VA and the University of Virginia. I am curious what's going on in the City of Charlottesville schools, which have a much different and less middle class/affluent population as Albemarle County which surrounds it.

  4. How does the teacher teach??? Does she go around to each child or group? Is there whole group teaching? How much time is allotted for students to be by themselves whereever they want?

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