My video was rambly this week. I think it’s because I have complete control over my environment, but there’s just not much I can do with it. I have a really small classroom and some big classes, so it gets packed quickly.
It’s easy to fall back into default “classroom mode” where desks are in rows for ease of movement, which is important. If you can’t do what you need to do because the arrangement isn’t working, (but hey, they’re in groups!) you’re environment still isn’t flexible enough to push students into owning their learning.
I’m pretty open about where students sit. A year ago (nearly to the day…wow…) I wrote about seating charts and they’re influence on the environment. I’ve resisted making new charts this semester because I’m shooting for the right balance in the room. This ties more in with the culture, but the physical environment is affected: who sits where, how does their interaction demand attention from the space, etc.
Being flexible with the environment starts the change. Being okay with (sometimes) big groups of kids helps send a message that learning is collaborative. Moving around your space (yes, it’s okay to have a desk and a space of your own) so you work more effectively in the classroom space will also help make that transition. Since moving my desk, my interactions have improved, my rapport is better, I feel more aware, and students expect more interaction from me. All good things.