In my mind the classroom itself is just as much a living part of the community as all the other members. I found myself today talking to students about systems within systems and how humans and the environment they inhabit interact. I try to set up a classroom that will facilitate interaction. I want a space that is inviting, comfortable, and generative.
The tables in the room are arranged into 4 groups that seat 6 students for the ease of conversation and cooperation on group related tasks, partner discussions, and table conversations. I worked really hard this year to set up a large carpeted area in the back for ease of choosing reading books, laying in a comfortable place to read, having classroom conversations, or playing cooperative games during free choice time.
The one thing in there that I don’t see that I would like to is a sofa. I have always wanted a nice comfy place where students could take a time out, discuss stories, read together, or have conversations with me. I understand that my room is really set up to encourage a lot of talking and that doesn’t always work to my advantage. However, I know students have to feel comfortable talking to each other in regular conversation before they will open up in risky academic discussions
In the spirit of honesty I am always jealous of those teachers who manage to make their rooms look like the rain forest, a jungle, or outer space. Maybe one day I will be able to live out my dream of having students come to school and find one of these awesome designs.