I wrote a Blog Post some time ago about how, after being challenged by Pam Moran and Ira Socol at the ICT in Education Conference in Tipperary to make a change in our classrooms to make the space more conducive to learning, I created a new Learning Space in my classroom for the last six weeks of the last term. It was a bit of a journey into the unknown as I consigned my teacher’s table to the back of the room, making it unemployed for the remainder of the term. The space was cleared of clutter, of which we’re all guilty, and the simple addition of beanbags and cushions in a circular shape created the new space. I was open-minded about what we could use the space for, but it turned out that it got great use and was used for every sort of lesson.
The reaction of the pupils in my First Class (7 year olds) was overwhelmingly positive. Towards the end of the year, I asked them to write a little about what they thought of our new Learning Space, which I sometimes referred to as “The Cave”. Inevitably, some even chose to write their reactions in the space itself. The presentation below gives a selection of the responses from the pupils. You will gather from their responses that we made great use out of the new space to do every and any curricular subject there. We used the space as one of the stations for our station learning; pupils shared their free writing with the group there; we corrected homework with small groups there; we listened to podcasted stories; we used the space for the talk and discussion part of the Stay Safe programme.
My next challenge is to try to continue using this space with my new class next year. This may pose some difficulties as I am moving to Sixth Class. The new class has a larger number of pupils, with larger desks and chairs, yet the classroom is the same size. So at the moment, I’m trying to squeeze everything together more in order to fit in a comfortable Learning Space in the new classroom. I hope the older pupils enjoy it as much as the younger pupils appear to have done.