When teachers started their journey, it was like someone tipped the first domino in a chain reaction, setting off a Rube Goldberg Machine of learning. What seemed like a simple task of acquiring new furniture to enhance student engagement quickly became a symphony of working parts moving each smaller piece toward the ideal. Teachers' empathy work opened up a whole new way of teaching, with a vow to empower students with greater voice and choice, opportunities to move, and an intentionally designed environment that impacts learning. With this impending shift in instruction, teachers began to contemplate all of the finest details in their classes. They realized they would have to fundamentally change not only the design of their class, but their entire system of management, as well.
Having completed their Opportunities Maps, teachers came prepared with all of the tiniest details they anticipate will be a part of their new routines. Among the details, teachers identified Pain Points - the areas they thought would most likely prove challenging in their new spaces. They kicked off their evening's work by writing each anticipated Pain on a different sticky note, then spent time silently clustering them before discussing their reasons for the different bundles, and labeling them with consensus.
Teachers prioritized areas of work, and some of the areas they feel need the most planning include transitions, seating, and flow. The evening wrapped up with a little Yes, and... thinking through a Brainwriting activity, building on others' ideas - solutions - to the problem at hand. Some of the ideas that grew out of this activity:
- Students should try every piece of furniture
- Begin with assigned seating, and gradually ease into choice
- Have one seating chart for days/times when there is a sub, tests, and other focused activities
- Open seating for portions of class (first half, certain activities, etc.)
- Use raffle drawings for mixing up seating
- Designate students' "home base"
- Create name tags students pick up on their way in, and use to identify and claim their own "home base" (also helps attendance routines)
- Rotate seating assignments clockwise
- Students have limited number of consecutive days in one seat
- Brainstorm responsible choices as a class and make an anchor chart
- Model the behavior you expect to see, then have students practice
- Set goals toward improved transitions, etc. with praise and rewards
- Use team colors to identify work areas
- Let students lead the modeling of expected behavior
- Use hand or auditory (music signals) during transition time
- Label/number supplies, keeping them visible and accessible
- Use visual support for returning supplies (such a photo reminder of expectations