Monday, October 16, 2017

#SundayFunday Classroom Tour

I'm slowly catching-up in my #SundayFunday prompts!  This is the prompt from week nine of the Sunday Funday blogging initiative.  It's never too late to join in!  You can read more about the challenge here if you like.  This week's challenge is to write about our classroom set-up.

I posted a few pictures from my classroom on Twitter prior to the start of the year.

At the time, I was looking forward to incorporating more group based whiteboard practice (Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces #VNPS) and continuing with the rotational station based model of blended learning.  Although I had successfully implemented this model involving small group instruction, group work, and individual work for the 4 previous years, this years' students struggled more than usual.  It may have been that I had more freshmen than ever before and they had not yet developed the confidence and self-discipline needed to work productively while I was with a different subset of students for small group time.  For whatever reason, the model was rejected by students this year.  It is unfortunate, because while using this model in the past, my students consistently scored the highest in our building on our state end of course exam (Keystone).  Also my previous students frequently come back to thank me because they were more prepared for the level of independence needed to compete in a college class where most of the work is completed outside of class in study groups and individually.  

So, I'm doing the best I can knowing that I am limited to a lecture/worksheet cycle this year.  I know that it is nowhere near best practice, but it is what I am being required to do this year.  In an effort to promote some classroom discourse, rather than full periods of lecture, I have now arranged my room like this:

I also wrote a few weeks ago about some of the "stuff" in my room and how it is used.  You can read about it here if you like.  However, here are two last tricks of the trade for you:

1)  Bank pens!  I bought 3 this year.  The base is stuck to my table with adhesive (no idea how well it will remove later) and the pen is on a retractable string.  So far, so good :)

 2)  A homework routine:  A coworker told me about this.  Kids sign-up for questions that they would like to see worked out and other students sign-up to explain them.  If no one signs-up for a question or two, I will discuss some of them as needed, but overall, the kids pull their own weight and help when they can.

That's it for this weeks #SundayFunday.  Maybe I'll be caught-up in a few more weeks :)

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