Classroom Design

                                                              Classroom Design

 

  1. Physical Space: what does the physical space of your learning environment look like? Where does the teacher work? Where does the students work?

 

A: If I have a class of 30 students, I will let them sit in groups of 5 or 6, depending how the class is. There will be a table at the back called the scaffold station, where kids who need extra help for the day, can come and work with the teacher. I would like to make the students work by following a class routine every day. I will establish this routine in the beginning of the year and let children become familiar with the routine so that the rest of the days of the year they know what to do all the time.

 

Routine for each workday excluding tests and special events.

 

Everyday lessons will happen with:

 

  • 5 volunteers doing the Do Now on the board for the class.
  • After Do Now Time, I will teach them the new lesson. 
  • Then they will work in stations with problems related to the lesson. These stations will have 5 or 6 students each based on the class size. Every group will have a student teacher, material person, note taker, moderator, timer, etc.
  • They will work like this for 15-20 minutes based on the lesson, rotating among 4 to 5 stations. This will be done with the help of a timer on repeat time.
  • There will be a group of 5-6 students who can work in the back with teacher, if they do not get the lesson or are stuck on any station, even after asking the student teachers in their groups. I will try to scaffold these students with tiered worksheets/listed steps.
  • Those kids that are done with the station work and still have some time left can work on enrichment worksheets, which I will also have fro them in the back.
  • The student volunteers for the Do Now will change when we move on to a new topic. They will know that they have to finish the Do Now before other students so that they can show it on the board for the class. If they get stuck, I can always help them and finish before they go in front of the class. 
  • The individual role in the groups will change once a month, unless someone really needs a change, and will switch spots within their groups.
  • There will be one volunteer, that will remind us each day, that we have 5 mins for the period to end, and will recap the learning target for us. This person will also tell the class to go into their stations for station time.
  • “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have 5 minutes left. Our learning target for today was:.....”

 

 

 

  1. 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 area indicated below: Time, Place, Content, Medium, Access, Pace? What will that freedom look like? How do they determine what they know and don’t know?

 

Based on the routine, I think they have enough autonomy. They can work in their stations with their groups. If they do not understand something, they can come learn with the teacher. If they are done with their work, they can ask for enrichment sheets. I like using and teaching with the smart board for most of my lessons. I also like IXL for math and science for the students to practice at home. The student can also pick their own pace of learning using IXL, or when they are in class, based on group work or one on one with the teacher in the back.

 

  1. Cooperative Student Learning: In 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 be working together when they are working in their stations. Everyone in the stations will have a different role to full-fill, solving one purpose of getting the work done, and in turn, understanding the learning target. The students will be working alone when they have learned the skill and can move on to higher level worksheets. They can work with the teacher, away from their stations, when they do not understand something or need clarification. In their stations when they are working together, they can also discuss or generate ideas about things they need to do or learn, like brainstorm ideas, or discuss a process. More specifically, math problems or science questions based on an experiment.

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Syed,

      You have clearly been thoughtful in your response to this Excursion.

      I have a couple of questions for you.

      1. Routine

      You said:

      I will establish this routine in the beginning of the year and let children become familiar with the routine so that the rest of the days of the year they know what to do all the time.

      Does that mean that your classroom would look exactly the same from day to day? Would it very by content area (say, ELA vs Science) or by any other factors? 

       

      2. You said: 

      Based on the routine, I think they have enough autonomy.

      I am wondering what you mean by that. What do enough mean? What do you mean here by autonomy?

      3. Student roles. You said:

      Students will be working together when they are working in their stations. Everyone in the stations will have a different role to full-fill, solving one purpose of getting the work done, and in turn, understanding the learning target. 

      I am confused about how this would work. Can you provide more detail?

      • Syed Mohsin
        Syed Mohsin

        Hello Professor,

         

        I would like to start by saying the second question is very good. I think a little more clarification would help. I have tried and seen others implement this routine for Math and Science. I am not sure, that it would work for ELA in the same manner. I will try to teach my lessons in this way, and during tests and maybe other things that require more attention, I will teach them through the lecture method.

        After the Do Now portion of the lesson, I would be teaching the new concept/skill for the day. The purpose of this type of lesson plan concept is to teach students to achieve autonomy/control in their learning. To see if they understand the lesson I have taught them at that point. If some students realize they already know the skills that were taught to them, they can move on to the enrichment sheets and give in that for their classwork for the day. If they are somewhat in the middle of mastering the skills, they can work in groups at the stations(I will talk about the station roles in the next paragraph). If students are completely confused about the lesson for the day, they can start by coming and working with the teacher right away. I think if this routine is done with them enough, they will learn to evaluate where they are in the mastery of a concept/skill.

        At the stations every student will have a role, student teacher, material gatherer, notetaker, timer. The purpose of all the students is to all work on the problems at the stations, and then change stations. These problems are suppose to help them practice their new skills. The different roles help facilitate this group work. For example, if a student in the station cannot finish the problem before they need to move on to the new station, the note taker person for the group can help that student complete the notes later, from their notes( btw all students will be taking notes). The student teacher can also help any student that needs help with a problem or skill. The material person, gets all the materials etc.

        Teachers who i have seen implement this routine told me that it took them couple of weeks to have it working smoothly. I really like this routine as it really gives student autonomy to take control of their own learning. I also thinks it motivates kids to learn at their own pace and not be stuck with level of learning/pace of others in the class. Often times, i have seen that children get bored if they know something already, waiting for their classmates to catchup. I have also seen that, when students really do not understand something, they are totally unmotivated to even pay attention in class. This is when direct, one on one instruction with the teacher can help them move forward.

        Thanks for your questions. Hope this clarifies it.

         

        Sincerely,

         

        Syed Mohsin

         

        • Gerald Ardito
          Gerald Ardito

          Syed,

          Thanks for your thoughtful response to my comments and questions. This really stuck out for me:

           I will try to teach my lessons in this way, and during tests and maybe other things that require more attention, I will teach them through the lecture method.

          I am curious about what you are saying here about direct instruction (lectures, for example), versus cooperative work. Are some teaching methods only good for certain types of information or learning? What do you think? 

          Teachers who i have seen implement this routine told me that it took them couple of weeks to have it working smoothly. 

          I would have to agree. It's like any classroom routine. You need to be clear about what you expect, then communicate those expectations clearly, and then allow the children to practice the routines.

           

          • Syed Mohsin
            Syed Mohsin

            Hello Professor,

            I think that a combination of the two methods (direct and collaboration ) is better than just one method. You never know who will benefit from either of the methods. When it is a totally new concept for the kids, direct instruction works best to get them started on the concept. For example, I would think, it would be hard for kids to learn the "process" of calculation in math for some problems if they are not taught the "process" or the performance task part of the operations in a math problem. In other words, they have to know enough to be able to understand the problems that are posed to them. Collaboration, on the other hand, works best when the students are already exposed to some of the learning and can logically figure out a solution or a concept.

            Thanks,

             

            Syed Mohsin

            • Gerald Ardito
              Gerald Ardito

              Well said. I would still ask you to reconsider what might be possible in constructivist teaching methods, especially with middle schoolers.

            ED 524 Spring 2020

            ED 524 Spring 2020

            This is the online home for ED 524 Spring 2020.

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