My classroom is a good size, and we have lab tables that work well for doing labs and for group work. Below you see an older photo, and the desks are lined up in traditional rows. Better for lecture days, but not as good for labs and cooperative learning. For the new year I arranged the tables lengthwise in pairs that seat a group of four students.
We are lucky that we are undergoing renovation right now, and I am only 6 weeks away from getting a bit of an update on my room. I mentioned on “Day One: Goals for the New Year” that I intend to apply for some grant money to get a whole new set of furniture that is up-to-date with technology and efficient learning methods. If I can obtain the needed money, I anticipate that it will still be over a year before any new furniture arrives.
My room is just too small for the way I have it arranged. I cannot easily walk between the desks, and the students are not very mobile either. What I need to do is get rid of the big, huge, enormous demonstration desk-table that is built into the floor. In fact, I am considering asking that the construction crew chop it down. Demo it. Axe it.
While the table space is great, its monstrous size completely BLOCKS me from my students when I am teaching them. I use a Ladibug, a document camera that I love, to work problems for them. You see a pic of me (in a purple shirt) behind the desk working problems, but where I like to be is in front of my desk, in close proximity to the students. In the photo of me in the lab coat – my position is ideal in that spot, but there is no work surface for me to use the Ladibug. SO – I rarely stand there b/c I can’t be productive and model problems.
Getting rid of the desk would allow me to bring the students closer to me and give us all enough space to walk around the tables. A smaller, mobile desk would be perfect for the Ladibug station and would have plenty of room to store my stuff. All the file folder drawers that were originally installed years ago are no longer necessary. I use Dropbox.
So, bring on the construction crews. Let’s do some demolition and give the kids the freedom and space they need to learn.