As part of Sharon’s input on classroom management and organisation we were asked to design our classroom and provide a rough layout of it. From the moment that we were asked to do this my head was filled with ideas for what I could have in my classroom and the way that it would look. Below is a diagram of what I would like my future classroom to look like:
In this particularly instance I have designed the classroom to hold 30 children at maximum whereby there would be 10 children at each of the three tables in the centre of the room. These tables would be organised to ensure a mix of abilities at each so that ideas could be expressed and peer learning can take place effectively. The tables would also be organised to incorporate a mixed gender seating arrangement. This would provide all pupils with the opportunity to interact with members of both the same and opposite sex as well as allowing them to develop socially. However, this seating arrangement would not remain the same for every lesson. For maths and language lessons, the organisation of tables would be altered so that children are working with peers of the same level as them. The layout of the tables also means that it is possible for whole class lessons to take place whilst every child is seated at their table. This also makes way for working in pairs or groups during these whole class lessons and allows children to share their ideas and knowledge amongst their peers at that particular table.
To the right-hand side of the entrance to the classroom, there are two displays on the wall. The first is an information board that has various informative resources for the class, for example the timetable for that day as well as a board that tells the date and weather in the foreign language that the class are learning. The second display is a points ladder system whereby there are three ladders – bronze, silver and gold – that every pupil can climb when they are awarded points. This display allows children to track their progress in the classroom and also rewards for their good work and behaviour accordingly. Both of these resources have purpose and bring something to the classroom.
Taken from Sharon Tonner’s ‘Organisation and Classroom Management’ presentation
As for the display at the back of the classroom, next to the reading corner, this will be used to portray the class project at one particular time. Children’s work on that project will be displayed here from any of the curricular areas, in particular art as this may be informative to the class as well as boosting that pupil’s self-esteem as their piece of work is displayed. At this display, there will also be a table whereby various books and sources to do with the project will be displayed. Children will be able to access these sources and interact with the display in order to develop their knowledge. The display at the far end of the classroom, which is next to the computers, is a space that allows children to choose a piece of work that they feel was done well and display it to the rest of the class. This concept is based on a display that I previously seen a couple of times and works effectively as a way for children to take pride in their work and engage in their own learning process. It is also an effective method in encouraging children to discuss their learning and their ways of working with peers. On top of all this, it also makes for a bright and dynamic decoration in the classroom and gives off the impression that this is a class of active learners who engage in their own learning.
As you can see, there is also an incorporation of ICT and technology within my classroom. I feel that this an important concept to bring into the modern classroom and it is vital that children are competent in using this technology – for some children, the classroom may be their only opportunity to engage with such technology. The IWB is a hugely effective tool for both teachers and pupils and is beginning a much more common feature in teaching and learning. Therefore, it is important that this be a focus in my classroom. It also provides a huge variety of different learning experiences for children and could be used to some extent in every area of the curriculum. The IWB is also an easy way of incorporating various forms of multimedia into lessons in order to make them more captivating as well as more memorable to the children. As for the computers, they also have a number of uses within the classroom. For children who struggling with writing, the computers provide an easy alternative that allows them to get the job done. They also provide children with a new way of working and can be used by groups to research particular topics for a class project, thus giving way to interactive as well as peer learning. The computers can also act as a way developing pupil responsibility and strong teacher-student relationships. In order to use these resources, they require pupils to be sensible and respectful otherwise the privilege of being allowed to use them will simply be taken away.
In the corner of the classroom there is a reading area/library. I have chosen to incorporate this feature as I believe that it is important to emphasise the importance and relevance of language and literacy. This facility would offer a variety of books to pupils so that there is something for everyone in the hope that they will grow to enjoy reading and develop their abilities in this area. An additional feature in the reading corner is also a display od books recommended by me – the teacher – and pupils. Pupils are able to display what they have been reading and recommend it to their peers based on their own experiences when reading the book. I also feel that a reading area provides a quiet space for children to escape to if needs be. It provides them with a place where they are able to take a step back from work if they are not in the right state of mind to learn at that time. Whilst emphasising the importance of language, the reading corner also considers the feelings of the child and is effective in building a comfortable learning environment for them.
As for the organisation of resources in the classroom, I have provided storage facilities where jotters, pencils, rulers and other classroom essentials can be stored. If this space is maintained and kept neat then this can maximise teaching and learning time as every one in the class knows where to find the necessary utensils. This also makes for a more orderly and smooth running of the classroom and benefits the children in the long run. I have also provided trays at the front of classroom. Each will be assigned their own tray and this acts as their own personal storage space for various things such as a break-time snack, the book that they are reading or unfinished worksheets that they wish to complete at a later time. Trays also combat clutter on tables, therefore maintaining a neat and organised classroom that allows for maximum learning time in the classroom.
After completing this task and considering how I’d like my own classroom to look one day, I understand the importance of the classroom layout and how the organisation of this can have a major impact on the way in which my pupils learn. The idea of having my own classroom one day is very exciting and I’m sure as I progress throughout the next few years this image will change as I gain experience in different classrooms of different shape and size. I am looking forward to placement where I can observe how the classroom layout has an effect on the learning experience for children and possibly experiment with some of my own ideas within the classroom.