This blog was reposted with permission from Brian Durst’s website, A Form of the Good.
On the eve of another school year’s opening day, I captured several images of the personalized learning environment students will enter in the morning. Welcome back to The Clubhouse!
Learners will immediately face choices and be challenged to determine where they will learn best each day. Those searching for an uncomfortable, cumbersome, Industrial Age desk are out of luck in room A15–I ditched the last three desks during this year’s back-to-school renovation. However, there are plenty of excellent work spaces available.
Two round tables comfortably seat four and promote conversation. There are also two rectangular tables which will soon be replaced by several high cafe tables and chairs. The current chairs are versatile and mobile when we need to rearrange efficiently.
I love the open space in the room. I can make my way from one learning center to another with ease to check in with groups or individuals. Students also have the freedom to move around without raising a hand or navigating up and down rows.
While the smart board might attract visual focus at times, there is no clear front of the room. If I address the entire class, I intentionally speak from various locations. One of my favorite spots to set up is the standing table near one of the white boards (in the following image). There are two stools on the backside if students prefer to sit for part of the class period.
The bulletin boards on the back wall provide ample space for students to showcase work or highlight major concepts. Book shelves house our classroom library collections. I urge readers to check out books at their convenience or direct them to titles, authors, or themes that connect to their units of study.
The large meeting station (above) provides space for conversations with the most participants. While we do separate the tables at times, I love this location for meetings. In fact, we host department collaborative time (for true meetings of the minds). We have easy access to a white board and a good view of the smart board if we need to project work for all to see.
One familiar image of The Clubhouse is the comfy corner. Even this space is improved this year. It received new rugs and a cleaner, open space. But the constants are the white, vinyl couch and deck box–perfect for bench seating as well as storing toys and props.
One professional goal is to be more intentional about sharing our experiences and reflecting on my practice. Ongoing conversations with passionate educators Allison Zmuda and Andrea Kornowski inspire me to increase transparency and celebrate the realities (highlights and obstacles) of personalizing learning in my high school English classes. Thanks to their support and prompting, there will be more blogging and vlogging throughout the year. Here is a brief tour of The Clubhouse (Room A15). Enjoy!
- More from Brian Durst: 10 Observations of Personalized Learning