… rows and aisles?
I had a coffee with a school computer technician this past week and part of our conversation revolved around the challenges of getting the summer imaging done on the myriad of devices that are so prevalent in schools.
The conversation brought me back a few years to another coffee conversation with a technician actually done over the summer break. His strategy was to “hijack a classroom for a couple of weeks” and place all the computers and laptops on the desks. He’d bring in a portable hub, connect all the computers and start them all downloading. It worked out well to grab a teacher’s chair with wheels and just roll from machine to machine. Just repeat the process until every machine in the school was done. At the conclusion, they would all be the same and run equally as well as each other.
But things changed. Jennifer Aston’s post, referenced in This Week in Ontario Edublogs, indicates how her classroom is changing. It can affect the convenience of imaging described above. I still smile at the technician’s comment “have you ever imaged a computer in a beanbag chair?” Or, “teachers don’t even have those nice chairs with wheels anymore”. Yep, there goes the convenience.
I think of my own classroom. I was in the Business Department in a new-ish school. My first Business Education Director was involved in the design of the area and was visionary for the time. He made sure that we had four rooms with electricity in the floor, and every one of the rooms had tables instead of desks. We were the envy of other schools and often meetings and PD events were held at our place. No jiffy poles! (Plus having air conditioning didn’t hurt either.)
For the longest time, we had formal homerooms. It was our principal’s attempt at building community; we got a homeroom in Grade 9 and we had those students (and they had the same locker) for their entire school career. Until he retired, our Guidance Head had all kinds of activities for us to do with the students. Plus, I’m told, homerooms allowed a buffer for late bus arrivals. For us, it was more than announcements and taking attendance. Our homeroom lockers were right outside the door. We were easily able to spot those moldy lunch bags!
Having tables allowed for flexible group work but also for those times when it was more convenient for students all facing the same way at the same time. The biggy is learning all the names of the classes and homerooms with assigned seating, at least for the first part of the year/semester. It was very convenient indeed. Moving into groups while still having a writing surface was easily done by moving the chair instead of a whole desk.
Your thoughts for a Sunday leading into a new school year on Tuesday…
- What’s new in your classroom for 2018 / 2019?
- Is your room set up for the convenience of learning names? Do you have any name learning tips? Particularly with teenagers, they’ll cut you a bit of slack the first couple of times but they do expect you to learn them quickly. For rotary elementary teachers and secondary school teachers, that’s a lot of names.
- Do you still have a teacher chair on wheels?
- Will all the technology in your class be freshly imaged and ready for use on Tuesday?
- How many times a year do you have “locker checks”?
- Other than chairs or desks, what would we find in your classroom?
- beanbag chairs
- standing desks
- interactive white board
- tablets? laptops? desktops?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. It’s a great place to brag about the learning environment that you’ve crafted for your students.