I have already written on the topic of the classroom environment and how important I think it is. While I have invested heavily in how my room “looks”, I’m nowhere near where I want my classroom to be with regard to aesthetics, functionality, and overall performance. (Please click the play button to view a short video of my classroom environment).
Of course, I want my classroom to provide a safe environment for my students to thrive. Still, I have not (yet) been able to convince them this classroom is a sanctuary whereby they can escape the trappings of regular school (the one they’ve learned to hate) and come here to learn about themselves, how powerful they are, and that the world needs them.
Temet Nosce (Know Thyself) needs to be integrated into every aspect of this room… and I don’t even have photos of my students OR words that define them posted anywhere. Unfortunately, my students are significantly dysregulated and have not yet self-reported that they are ready for any kind of ownership in the classroom. Still, I’m actively seeking and ready to act on an opportunity if it presents itself.
Below, you will find the rubric categories and reflections:
Flexible Seating Design and Reflection
We have seven (7) large desks with comfortable chairs, a round table with rolling chairs, a leather couch and two (2) leather chairs (each with power charging capabilities), twelve (12) extra chairs for additional seating, and a bench for additional workspace. We also have the flexibility to move to many different areas both inside and outside the building. We often go for walks outside OR to the Marinette Rec Center which is located next door. We also have access to our own large gym, smaller gym, auxiliary gym, a commons area (i.e. lunch room), auditorium, library, and other meeting rooms.
Classroom Flow Design and Reflection
Students are able to easily navigate the classroom space while gaining access to the board, the front table where we keep Daily Journals and pencils/pens, access to their storage bins, etc. We also have the ability to move desks and chairs to create a space to play basketball.
Physical Accommodation Design and Reflection
We have some students who are in wheelchairs and/or have difficulty getting around without an aide so our spacing between desks and tables was an important consideration. This is why the desks are staggered and there’s so much space in the front of the room… for their access and for mine as the instructor.
Structured Spaces Design and Reflection
The classroom structured spaces design is somewhat limited due to being one of the smaller EBD classrooms. However, we made the most of it by using the front of the room to teach, allowing students the space they need to spread out, incorporating student storage bins at the back, and both a table next to my desk and two (2) comfortable chairs for more private conversations whenever working with students. I have also strategically placed multiple mirrors around the room so I can keep an eye on students who like to hide what they’re doing.
Technology Design and Reflection
I fought for technology in my room. When I couldn’t get it budgeted, I bought it myself. Having worked as an Internet consultant for over 25 years, I struggled to adjust to the limited technology in our classroom. I have purchased multiple software apps and devices for use in my room… some for the students and some for myself. I have apps for creating digital assets, lesson design, and creating assessments, and for keeping track of everything necessary to streamline all the processes associated with my job.
Wall Space Design and Reflection
For me, wall space is like prime gold real estate. My lessons utilize many visuals and build on each other. For this reason, I take elements of many of my talks and boil them down to images and artifacts that I point to daily. Everything in my room has a story associated with it. I have many more stories to tell… so I have to be intentional about which stories matter most.
Additional Imagery From Our Classroom Environment (with Reflections)