Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Classroom Mapping

Yes, this is a made up term used by me, but it is the most concise term I could come up with for what I do prior to school coming back into session. Let me explain. When I got my teaching job 2 years ago I walked into a barren room with nothing more than a some stools, chairs and permanently placed "lab tables" filled with graffiti and a warning of termination to anyone with the bright idea to remove said "lab tables". My room looked like so:

Let me go into the many problems going on in this picture. First, despite how it looks in the picture, my room is rather small. Last year I had one class with 33 students on roster and in the one occurrence where all students were present I didn't have enough seats. Welcome to the public education system! Second, it has been shown in many new teacher readings as well as personal experience to never EVER have your students with their back to you. Nothing is good for a student who has the ability to turn his body and give you the back of the head. Consider this:

Say there is a student sitting with his back to you on that first lab table you see with his back to you. He comes in everyday and never turns around to acknowledge you while you are delivering you directions or lecture. When you call him out and ask him to look at you he retorts back "I'm just writing notes". Some of following could happen; he COULD be taking notes but is not fully grasping the concept because he is awkwardly turned to look and write OR he could NOT be taking notes but since he is in a supreme position to hide his work with his body you as the teacher may not catch this.

"Desks do not have to be in traditional rows, but all chairs should face forward so that all eyes are focused on you."- Harry Wong

Preach it Mr. Wong! So, with obnoxious tables and the possibility of 30+ students I face the laborious task of creating the flow of universe. This is where I start mapping. Now, if you are not able to get into classroom early enough to take a look around and come up with a plan or have been in the same room for years now this might be more difficult and require more furniture moving. I have been in the same room for 2 years and am in and out of the school all summer due to cheerleading so this works for me.

This plan is 2 years in the making. I have been able to successfully have all students facing forward in the past but with the permanent fixtures and close quarters I always seem to have bruises up and down my thighs. This plan should be able to allow me to get from seat 2 to seat 19 in the shortest amount of steps... and no bruising. This set up also allows me to bring in more desks next to 28 and 1 if I really need to.

"The best room arrangement allows the teach to get from any student to any other student in the fewest possible steps."- Fred Jones

Now, I've actually worked this floor plan out and when I am up at the school tomorrow for our Cheerleading Lock-In (Happy thoughts my way please!) I will post pictures and talk more on the subject. As for now, fooooooooood!

"Teachers need walkways. These are not little, narrow walkways, but rather, boulevards." -Fred Jones

Mrs. Callahan

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