Excursion 2/3

a. Physical space. What does the physical space of your learning environment look like? Where does the teacher work? Where do the students work?

In my future classroom, I plan to create a learning environment in which students feel supported by their learning needs. It is necessary for students to feel supported in their classroom because this leads to an increase in student motivation. To obtain this goal,  my students will have access to various materials they may need, such as alternative seating. Such seating accommodations include leaning chairs, standing desks, and stools. Although some students may take advantage and use the seatings as a distraction, it is crucial to ensure every student has a choice as to where to sit at certain times of the day. I will have the students desks arranged in the center/front of the room facing the SmartBoard. The desks will be arranged in small groups, no larger than four desks per table. Each set of desks has a seat for a teacher or teacher assistant to sit during small group instruction. 

Not only do I want my classroom learning environment to make students feel supported, additionally, I want it to have a calm tone. Having a calm tone in the classroom is important because it allows students to feel comfortable and safe. To create this tone, I will have sections of the room available that are dedicated to providing this. One center I will have is sensory, which will be set up in the back corner of the classroom. At this center, students will have access to various materials such as coloring books, play dough, blocks, books, puzzles, and other tools. This is an area for students to relax and have a choice in what they do with their time. Students will have individual time daily for ten minutes each to enjoy this area. 

Lastly, it is important that my classroom environment is organized as well. I plan to have my desk be towards the back of the room. This allows me to oversee the classroom if I sit at my desk. In my desk area, I will keep my student files and any other important work in color-coded boxes. I plan on having a desk calendar with any important school-related dates noted. In front of my desk will be a “check-in” table. This table will have any morning work, Do Nows, or Exit Tickets available, depending on the time of day. Students will know to automatically check the table when they enter the room from a transitional period. On this table will be a bin labeled “completed work”. In the bin, each student has a folder. Whenever a student finishes a worksheet during the day, they place it in their folder with permission from a teacher. I will then sort the folders at the end of each day to prepare for the next. Students will also have their own bin, which will be along the sidewall of the classroom. In the bins, students can put any current independent reading books, any activity sheets, etc. This is their bin for keeping their school items in one place.

b. Student autonomy. How much autonomy do the students have about their workspace and their own learning? How much freedom do they have in each of the areas indicated below? What will that freedom look like? How do they determine what they know and don't know?

Student autonomy is an important factor to promote in the classroom; however, especially at the elementary level, it is important to balance it with modeling and guidance. To promote autonomy in the classroom, I will provide options throughout the day. There will be various opportunities for social interactions among students through seating arrangements and academic grouping opportunities. Students are seated in a desk arrangement with two other students. The students will be encouraged to problem-solve together in order to develop critical thinking skills. Students will be placed in various grouping arrangements as well. Students are assigned a peer-tutor for peer work based on the academic level. The pairs will change throughout the year as the students grow academically or new support is incorporated. I will have two or three lessons a week in which I tier by product, which allows the students to choose which assignment they want to complete to demonstrate their understanding of the lesson objectives and essential questions.

To further support student autonomy, I will provide support in student social/emotional regulation. To do this, I will teach some lessons based on literature about social/emotional regulation and allow for students to practice this concept in the classroom. I will have a variety of anchor charts on the walls of the classroom to remind students of coping skills they can use to self-regulate. These lessons will also promote students to increase positive and appropriate classroom behavior and social interactions with their peers. I currently teach a lot of lessons on this subject in the self-contained classroom I am a teacher’s aide in and the students love discussing coping skills and have started to use them more without prompting from any staff. Another way to promote student autonomy is to create challenges to further promote individual problem-solving skills.  

c. Cooperative student learning. In what ways are your students working together? When do they work with other students and when do they work alone? Give some examples of the types of work they will be doing in this learning environment.

Students will work together in a variety of ways. As stated above, students will be seated in small group arrangements for whole-class instruction. When in these groups, students are encouraged to use their critical thinking skills together to build their problem-solving skills. Students will also be assigned a peer-tutor. This peer tutor is assigned based on an academic level (high and low student). The peer-tutor will be used approximately three times a week to practice reading fluency. The tutoring sessions will be modeled for a week or two, and then demonstrated twice before it is implemented to ensure every student knows the two roles or tutor and tutee. I will also implement project-based learning activities based on the school curriculum to promote teamwork and creativity in learning. I will ensure this is implemented with fidelity by modeling and demonstrating. 

Students will have options for working individually as well. I will have Do Now activities and Exit Ticket worksheets which will be done individually as post and pre-assessments before certain lessons. Students will have daily reflective journaling in the morning. During this time, students make a goal for themselves for the day and write about how they plan to reach it, or if it is a weekly goal, update about how they are reaching it. This gives students an insight as to how they want their day to go and set up a plan for themselves. Students have a creative writing session twice a week also to promote individual thinking and creativity. 

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Abria,

      I really enjoyed reading your post for this assignment. You have really done a good job identifying some critical important issues within each question.

      Physical Layout

      You said:

      Not only do I want my classroom learning environment to make students feel supported, additionally, I want it to have a calm tone. Having a calm tone in the classroom is important because it allows students to feel comfortable and safe. 

      You have definitely correctly identified the real effect of the creation and maintenance of a learning environment -- namely, providing a setting in which students can thrive.

      Student Autonomy

      You said: 

      To further support student autonomy, I will provide support in student social/emotional regulation.

      You have made an important connection between student autonomy and the development of social/emotional regulation. There is definitely a network effect between and across these things. For example, how can student self-regulation contribute to an autonomous learning environment and vice  versa?

      Cooperative Learning

      You said:

      When in these groups, students are encouraged to use their critical thinking skills together to build their problem-solving skills. Students will also be assigned a peer-tutor.

      This is a really important and effective practice that most folks have not yet mentioned in this course. Peer mentoring can be used both to support individual students as well as (re)shape the learning environment from being more teacher centered to becoming more student centered.

      I invite you to update this post as you complete the relevant readings. Doing so will make your arguments stronger.

       

       

    ED 524 Spring 2020

    ED 524 Spring 2020

    This is the online home for ED 524 Spring 2020.

    Latest comments