Making Your Room Work 4 U- 9/2/19

The first week of school is over and I am getting ready to begin by second week. My first week provided me many successes as well as many growth opportunities. But none of these growth opportunities were as impactful as my room arrangement. See as a School Based Technology Specialist, I see students in grades K-3 thirty minutes per week in the school's computer lab. Although I have never taken the dimensions of this room, its size is significantly smaller than other labs that I have worked in. Despite its size, I was determined to make this space work for me. I knew that the previous SBTS has set up long tables against the wall and a row of tables in the middle, but I knew that wouldn't work for me. My biggest priority was setting up a meeting space to start my lessons and I knew it would take some creative problem solving to find a solution.

Getting Started- Iteration #1

With my focus in mind, I got started rearranging the room. The first thing I did is get rid of the extra furniture. There were 12 skinny long tables in the room and I quickly arranged eight into 4 combined tables and began to set up a carpet area in the front of the room. There had also been a trapezoid table in the room and I put that in the front of the room. I added my word wall to the front of the room and made sure that the projector was the right distance from the screen. I felt ready to begin my year.

Not the way I imagined it...

I began my classes with a first grade class last Monday. To begin with, trying to fit 28 first graders in the carpet area was a challenge. But in addition, when I had my students go to their computers, I quickly realized that I was unable to move around to help them. I had to find a better way..

FAILURE= First Attempt in Learning Unless Reflection Exists...

As the Tech Rabbi shares in Educated By Design, reflection is key during the creativity process as we learn. As I taught my Tuesday classes and reflected on what worked and didn't work, I started looking at my room differently. Did the screen have to define the front of the room? Did all my tables need to be together? Could I stagger them and use the chalkboard as the front of my room?

An idea struck me...

With 30 minutes between classes, I decided the room arrangement had to change NOW! I started moving tables around, staggering them in multiple ways until I found an arrangement that allowed me to create a meeting space in the middle of the room.

But would it work?

I have to be honest- the first two classes were a little shaky. The general setup was done, but I definitely had some fine tuning to do- especially with the chalkboard as my screen the first day. But once again, I found an answer.

I got bulletin board paper and covered my board. I fixed the wires and even created colored table pods. By the time Thursday came around, I was amazed:

  1. I could walk around my room and help students as needed!

  2. I could have my students use the meeting area!

  3. I had found a way to manage the traffic flow in the room!

  4. I even found out that the screen could be moved by the chalkboard!

Will this be the final arrangement in my room?

I have no idea. You never know what inspiration will strike you. But what I do know is, even in the smallest places, with a little imagination and persistence, anything can happen.. How have you made your room work for you?

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