My “New” Learning Space!

June 16

I’ve spent the last 22 years of my teaching career in the same classroom; I count the years by the number of class pictures on my wall. I have transformed it into a learning space that I am completely happy with.  It is an efficient and effective environment where my students are content, relaxed, happy and eager to explore, create, question and learn. I’ve recently been informed that I’ll be moving….to a portable classroom.

I’m not going to lie, at first I was disappointed. But as I’ve always said to my students: “When one door closes, at least two others open”.  I’d be a hypocrite not to heed my own advise. In fact, I’m  quite sure my new portable will have two doors!!! I’m looking at this  unexpected change as a new opportunity to grow, learn, collaborate, share and create an even better learning space for my students than the one that took me 22 years to establish.

I’ll be moving the furniture, desks, mats and equipment you see in the video above to my portable and hopefully, a SMART Board will be installed. A set of 10 Chromebooks have replaced the cart of Macbooks. I’m excited about some new ideas that I have for my new space. As we’ll only be one step away from the outdoors and space will be limited in the classroom, I plan on spending much more time having my students work, learn, play and collaborate outside. Thus, I’m hoping to acquire a class set of lawn chairs, a portable whiteboard and mini white boards for each student.

I’m reaching out to my PLN for your advise and experience with teaching in a portable classroom. What works? What are the advantages? What suggestions and tips do you have? How have you set up your “portable” learning space? Do you take advantage of the close proximity to the outdoors? Can you provide me with a picture or two of your classroom? Please take a moment to fill in this form to help me build my new learning space. I plan on sharing my learning journey and any input provided. If you don’t teach in a portable and never have, please pass this blog post onto someone you know who has! I’m looking forward to learning from all of you and thanks in advance for your help!

-P

June 17

Well, it’s been 18 hours since I posted and the response from my PLN has been incredible! Thank you!

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Here’s some of my new learning, questions and thoughts…

I am now officially referring to my new learning space as “The Cottage” until my new class in September decides on a name.  I will be inviting my students to help co-create The Cottage and determine how they would like to structure their school day. More outside learning will definitely happen. I think I’ll keep the mats but also ask for a carpet. Wondering what teachers experience is with bringing personal furniture into the classroom (for example, a coffee table or a chair)? Lawn chairs and small student whiteboards are high on my priority list. I’ll want to bring in a portable blue tooth speaker. As many of you know, technology is an important component of my learning space. We normally share our 10 Chromebooks with another class to make a class set of 20 (minus 6 or 7 as we have classes of 27) for half the school day. Sharing was relatively  easy as the class we shared with was directly across the hall. Sharing of the Chromebooks will prove more problematic.

Suggestions? Ideas? Thoughts?

-P

 

 

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About mrcameron14

I am a Grade 6 teacher of 18 years in Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. Passionate about sharing with teachers throughout the world. Teaching students how to use technology 4 good and to make a positive difference in the world. Apple Distinguished Educator 2013, SMART Exemplary Educator 2013, Google Educator 2015.
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4 Responses to My “New” Learning Space!

  1. HI Peter:
    When I was in Grade 5, my class was in a portable. I think we students had the same reaction as our teacher – blah. But it was the best year I ever had! Right from the start, Ms Lowe made us feel special for being away from everyone else. We were lucky. It was our little kingdom. I don’t remember many specifics except this: she would take us outside, behind the portable, for lessons. I particularly remember her reading us novels. This was a long time ago, when classes rarely left the building, so imagine how wonderful it was to sit on the grass and listen to someone read a great story! Just further proof that we were special. We became so close that when she married at the end of the school year, the class was invited to the service.
    You already take your students on wonderful adventures. Make the portable your special kingdom.
    N.

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  2. Norah says:

    A new learning space = a new learning opportunity. I enjoyed your video. What a huge classroom space, and so well-equipped. I’m impressed. I haven’t had a portable classroom (I assume that’s what we call ‘demountable’) but I have had a classroom with a door onto a grassy space, which I made a lot of use of. I think it’s great to add outdoor learning to your day: fresh air and sunshine. Best wishes with your new environment!

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  3. Peter – You have definitely thought of critical items already – whiteboards, portable bluetooth speaker, seating for outdoors, and technology. Does your school have a BYOD policy? Ipads and tablets offer a great way to record information and save it (important for assessment). When your weather is cold or rainy – how do you continue to make use of the outdoors? This is an area to consider. From a Forest School perspective there is no “bad weather”. However, different weather offers different learning possibilities and challenges. You need to learn to embrace what the environment offers you from day to day. You would not want to ask students to sketch outside if mittens were needed (at least I don’t). However, snow and ice are incredible STEM materials. While my experience is Kindergarten there are incredible resources out there – I recommend EcoSchools lesson plans and Natural Curiosity/ Learning for a Sustainable future. The key is to consider your curriculum one big integrated continuum. Math and literacy flow from all other areas.
    You and your students will have a wonderful new year embracing this change of scenery! Enjoy 🙂

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  4. Maureen McDonnell says:

    I have had a lot of experience working in portables (and have graduated to an indoor portapack). Mine was ‘ la cabane’. The advantages are many: airflow, freedom to send groups outside to work with supervision out the window, more incentive to walk during the school day, relative privacy and a chance for the busy kids to do a couple of laps outside to blow off steam. Disadvantages: noise (lawn cutting, sports events) critters, leaks, mold and mildew and the rigours of the great outdoors coming inside. You mastered your classroom set up you’ll likely master this one plus in good weather it’s a healthier environment for all. We spend entirely too much time disconnected from the outdoors.

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