My fifth grade students are eager to take control of their education. They love to observe, form ideas, and discuss their ideas with each other. I give my students autonomy for how they learn. I allow them to to reflect on what context works best for them- do they want to work alone, with a partner, or in a group with a teacher? In this setting, my students are constantly teaching and learning from each other.
My students come from an under-resourced neighborhood, and many of them do not have housing, are in foster care, or came last year after the hurricanes in the Caribbean.
Our school is a level-5 school, in turnaround. The students and the staff are working long days, in an extended school year, to bring the school out of turn around.
This project is intended to create a classroom that supports students agency, and autonomy, while maximizing their academic learning, and emotional intelligence. I want students to have choice in the classroom- where they sit, who they sit with, and how they learn. I want the classroom to be a workshop, not an assembly line.
25 growing, budding fifth graders in a small classroom. 25 desks, 25 chairs. A rug for classroom learning, a library. Reading, writing, math, science. A lot is expected in a day. On top of that, emotional interactions require kids to take space from each other, and sometimes work together. These materials help my classroom stay organized, from 7:15-4:00 pm, the time when the kids are in the room. They also allow me to organize my class in the hours before and after school.
A modern day classroom needs to be a workshop, not an assembly line.
These materials allow my students to be engineers, authors, academics. Through my guidance, they develop their skills. In order for this to be possible, the classroom needs to be organized with a variety of materials. The papers for all these subjects need to be easy to find. At the same time, students who need more challenging tasks need to be able to find these on their own, and students who need additional tools need to know where to go. As every student carves out their learning each day in a way that maximizes their strengths, these flexible seating chairs, bins, and paper storages will help my kids have productive days where they have the space to think, learn, and collaborate.
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