One Amazing Way To Empower Students

One Amazing Way To Empower Students

Hi, Teachers!

I've been reading so much material about alternative seating lately, and I'm sure you've seen it popping up in your social media feeds too! I even wrote a post about how I've used affordable seating options in my room until I can go full-blown yoga ball and standing desks. Kayla Delzer can often be seen talking about how she likes to imagine her room as a Starbucks. It started me thinking...

How can I empower my students to do their best learning in our classroom environment?

Have you wondered this before too? Well, the key here is that it's OUR classroom environment, not your classroom environment. The kids need to have power over what happens in their classroom. According to Marlynn Clayton, the author of Classroom Spaces That Work, we need to think of our classroom design and layout as fluid. If something doesn't work, move it around until it does. You can purchase or preview the book by clicking the picture below.

So since our classroom design is fluid, shouldn't the people who use it all of the time know how it needs to be changed to be most effective? Last week, I was thinking about how I could change our classroom when I realized that there were 23 people who I should be talking to about how to change it. I asked my kids what they wanted, and they were able to clearly tell me what they wanted. Here you can see some pictures of what things used to look like at the beginning of the year.

My class decided our group work table (over in the library area) should move away from the most-used part of the library to make it easier to access the shelves. They wanted a bigger meeting area too. Well, I'm really proud of what they came up with! Take a look!

Above you can see the library area. The leveled books are now easily accessible since they are the bulk of what is inside of each student's book bin. The choice books are still accessible, but our small group table has been moved in front of those bins instead. Here's another shot of the library area below.

And here's what it used to be...

That's a big change! Moving the desks helped a lot and opened up that corner of the room completely.

My kids told me what they needed, and I listened. I have to say, our room has been running SO smoothly lately, much more so than before. The kids were really invested in our conversation, and they were so helpful with moving furniture and generating ideas for a new layout. If we find something here isn't working, we'll talk about it together.

How might you let your kids take ownership of your room this year? If you're not ready to move furniture, what are you ready to let them change? Comment below! :)

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