When we moved into our new campus, our team seized on the opportunity to re-think how our year group uses space. Inspired by the masterclass that Rosan Bosch held at WAB’s Future of Education Now!, we thought differently about how we might set up different spaces for our learners.
Instead of allocating each class a ‘space’ in our new part of the building we reconfigured our spaces based on different models of teaching learning.
The Mountain Top
This is our gathering space – it has a projector and the ability to seat large groups of children for listening and viewing. Sometimes it might be the whole year group meeting, other times it might be smaller groups making use of the space to present. I will often read to my class on the mountaintop if there isn’t a loud activity happening in other parts of the pod. Some children enjoy working in the space on the individual rises, which they are free to do.
On the first day in the space, I found myself drawn to the views. Both the natural canal and the F15s often buzz past on their way to Paya Labar airbase. Rather than push against this, we placed sofas facing outwards for the students to enjoy the view. The Lounge has a lot of comfortable seating and a focus on small and quiet group collaboration. This area has a feeling almost like a library.
The office is our collaboration space. We set up whiteboard tables that learners can push together to have 8-9 learners sitting around them at a time, but learners can also pull apart for smaller groups to collaborate. We designed this to be a space where discussions are happening and small groups will meet. The office extends out into our ‘middle corridor’ where we have deliberately placed tables to signal to the learners that this is a place of teaching and learning. Often teachers will end up working in the middle at the start of the day to run through what’s coming up and discussing learners that will need support for planned learning engagements.
The cave is most like a traditional classroom. We have a lot of individual desks in this space as we wanted a space for learners who struggle with their time and attention to avoid distractions. While the focus is on a quiet place for introspection, the cave can also function as a noisy space by closing the doors to break up some noise.
Makerspace, Artspace, Kitchen
We have several spaces in our learning area that we share with Year 5 that are available for messy construction. We are still setting up these spaces with help from our learners.
How have the learners coped?
In an ideal world, the learners would have had more opportunities to set up the learning space. We have left some spaces unfinished for them to set up. So how have the learners coped?
- We still have official meeting points in the morning, therefore dropping official homerooms wasn’t much that of a leap. Our year group had already been cross-collaborating frequently with learners often in and out of the classrooms.
- Taking time to co-construct the learning behaviours we expect in different parts of our space.
- Teachers modeling moving to a space depending on the learning activities we are undertaking. Also moving into a central point to work, to avoid any place being seen as ‘theirs.’
- A strong teaching team who can work collaboratively. Before the move, we undertook several days with Mark Osborne to develop our understanding of how we could make use of our flexible spaces.