Thank you Angela Tucker from Prairie Crossing Elementary! I am always on the lookout for articles just like this!
Today some pretty important visitors came to see the Primary Innovation Studio—-on the 4th day of school! I was so nervous, but a treasured friend gave me these words, “A visit like this can be a tremendous amount of pressure, but I am confident that your lesson will be fabulous. If you start to feel your adrenaline, just breathe and focus on the kids, they will center you!”
Isn’t that the truth in the midst of national change, turmoil and disagreement in regard to education, change and reform. One just has to breathe and think of the reason we do what we do—the kids.
In this photo, you see kids interacting with NEARPOD. I highly recommend this application for primary teachers. After a couple attempts, kids start to get the hang of it. It is great formative assessment at a glance.
The kids, the kids, the kids. They are leading the way as we venture into new territory. Is it relaxing?–NO. Is is easy?—NO. Is it like other years?–NO. Is it fun—YES! I am finding that the kids are so thrilled that it is hard to wrangle them at times—a herding cats sort of feeling! I have energy in this class, and energy means that I will need my teacher toe shoes this year, ready for every mountain and valley!
Putting together the Primary Innovation Studio has been fun, but today was the best ever. Finally the students arrived, and we put the space to the test. The simplicity of the environment is interesting to me, as student work and student movement is the highlight of the room, not the decor. The puzzle tables are a great success, with kids enjoying the ability to work together and move freely. Love the Jaxx beanbags. I was surprised to see them seating up to 4-5 kids! I wish the carpet was a bit bigger; however, we made a grand circle around it and had some great sharing times. My favorite part is the space in the room which was the most challenging to plan, and that is the raised bar. I was worried about students maneuvering the stools; however, they just jumped right up on them, enjoying the touch and presenting today! This afternoon a SMART Interactive Flat Panel. This unit will have touch points for kids and I can’t wait to get them busy on it.Students who are pictured have given permission to be on the blog.
It takes a village. The pieces are slowly coming together as the Primary Innovation Studio gets in shape for the most important part: KIDS!
The countdown is in full swing as construction workers install their finishing touches, accepting that some things will not be shipped in time, and concentrating on thinking about my students, their needs and my plans. Today, as I (somewhat) relaxed in the new space, a colleague popped in. She and I discussed the mundane subject of the traditional number line that crawls around the classroom. I asked her, “Where should I put it? How high? How low?” She replied with, “Do you really need a number line crawling around the room to teach numeracy? Do kids really use it and refer to it?” This made us think and discuss for about 10 minutes. We brainstormed some options that fit with a more personalized model for students and a more flexible approach to space. After this discussion, the traditional number line was transformed into a roll which could be used at a moment’s notice on the floor, tacked on the wall for learning, or taken out into the hallway, plus more differentiated number grids and lines for individual learners.
This post is not about the number line. It is about the NEED for collaboration among teachers. My colleague’s suggestions and questions moved me forward and made my plans better. It is my dream and hope that I will have visits from many other teachers, and they will feel comfortable enough to question my thinking and make my environment better for kids!
The room is looking great. Contractors and distributors are not as eager to get everything in place for 25 7 year olds as I am. Today we will be installing the Apple TV into the monitor. This will be conducive to a continual stream of student work, photos, projects, etc. You will also see the plexiglass section which will be a place for students to contribute. The Genius Bar is looking fun; however, I am hoping that the kids can maneuver the stools! That is where the Dell touch will be housed. My vision is that kids will huddle around it and share their ideas collaboratively. The puzzle tables were a bear to put together (thanks, husband), and I am thrilled at the flexibility of their shape and the ease of movement around the room. I am thrilled with the slat wall portion of the room where books will be displayed in genre sections. I will have to be on top of my book collection as they ALL will not be out as usual. I am hoping that students will gravitate to a less is more type area, plus they will be reading on their IPADS. The space next to the TV is the Maker’s Space and shelves will be put on the complete tan wall. Many supplies have been collected which will make this space full of creative potential. Mentally, I am a bit tired. Studying 21st Century possibilities, cruising the web, pinning on Pinterest, chatting with experts, and studying APPs is like a huge feast. At first you are totally excited but after you eat you might have a bit of indigestion! However, I know that as things continue to fall into place that inner heartbeat of excitement will push me to the next step of the process.
Yesterday, my husband overheard some folks in the office complaining about devices in the classroom. “My kid is on the computer ALL the time….what is happening to the classic studies of holding a book and/or a pencil.” When he told me about this conversation, it made me wonder what parents and stakeholders are thinking about 21st Century Education. As we all know, the talk on the sidewalks and neighborhoods is often peppered with misconception. I found this article (thank you always Edutopia and Edudemic), and it addresses some of those. I can tell you right now, in the Primary Innovation Studio technology will be TOOL….just like a book, just like a pencil. As students are aiming for goals that they have ownership of, they will be able to use tools which are conducive to what they need to accomplish.