Anyone who knows me knows that I value the spaces I live and work in highly. I firmly believe that certain physical environments can stimulate and encourage certain intellectual and emotional behaviors, attitudes, and activities. As an educator, this longstanding personal belief is something that causes me to take the design of learning spaces seriously.
Accordingly, I began very early on in my career as an educator to accumulate ideas and research on creating generative learning spaces in my own future classroom. Throughout the years, this endeavor has been both a hobby and a passion of mine. I have been particularly fascinated by some of the research and theories surrounding the idea of flexible seating, a classroom design principle that encourages students to consider their personal learning styles and preferences and to choose their classroom seat from a variety of options. I have also used this blog to explore research on the value of plants in the classroom and to brainstorm potential aesthetics that I might like my classroom to have. Essentially, I have been preparing for a classroom of my own for some time now.
And the time has come to put that preparation to good use.
My new position as a high school English teacher at Lexington Christian Academy has afforded me the opportunity to see some of my ideas and research in action in good old Room 212, my very own classroom. With the enthusiastic assistance of my extremely dedicated team of helpers, I was able to build a space that I truly believe will encourage deep discussion, real collaboration, experimental creativity, and quiet reflection. I’ve included a gallery of images below, but I have to say that, unless you’re plunked in one of the beanbags, smelling the Capri Blue reed diffuser, and taking it all in, you aren’t getting the full effect!
In planning for and designing complex intellectual experiences for my students, I believe it is important not to forget the physical experience. Real learning is holistic, requiring the body and the mind. My hope is that Room 212 is the kind of place where students can be physically, mentally, and emotionally poised to tackle the intellectual undertakings I will ask them to. All I need now are some students!
P.S. – Those desks are feeling painfully teacher-centric to me right now. Thumbs down. My plan is to rearrange them into small groups ASAP once we get through our introductory class together!