Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Closing The Door - My Hunch

Working in an ILE, you do get used to the hum or buzz that comes with 70 bodies within one space all undertaking their learning.  However for some of our learners, this can serve more as a distraction and they may seek out spaces where they a) feel comfortable and b) feel safe to take risks in their learning.

So come to this year where I am operating in a learning space with 100 learners and three other teachers, it seemed somewhat wrong to try the following.  I took a group of learners into one of our larger breakout spaces and I closed the door.  Their faces said it all when they smiled.  The transformation of the space went from hustle and bustle to a more calming vibe and the kids sensed it as soon as the door touched the wall.

Now it is not my intention to close these learners off from the rest of the hub.  My inquiry is focused more around how the environment can be used to foster independent learning.  The "Bat Cave", as it has been named, is serving as a launching pad where learners can develop strategies to focus on their learning, rather than get caught up in the activity that is happening around them.

I did something more extreme and this has put me in the learning pit.  I took all the furniture out of the space (see the photos below).  I am curious to see what the learners feel that need or by observation, we decide as a group is important to have in the space to help us with our learning.  So far we haven't asked for much as we have been working on building the routines and structure of our literacy learning.  This group is with another teacher for numeracy so we are working together to create the norms for the Bat Cave, co-constructed with the kids.

We decided that we needed a whiteboard the other week - the smart board that we couldn't get working wasn't adding any value so we were fortunate enough to appropriate one that wasn't being used in another part of the school.

Next Steps: I have had a few teachers come and observe me which has been great for my practice.  I need to look at developing my knowledge around using the environment as the third teacher so will be exploring some of the content by Reggio Emilia.

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