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« And it is back ... Creative Thinking Prompt #30 | Main | We are teaching students ... »
Tuesday
Apr292014

What is the Environment for Learning?

When you read a book at home, where do you sit?

When you use a laptop at home to check your email, twitter, or read a blog post, how do you sit?

When you use a phone or tablet to look up something quick, do you sit up straight in a chair with both feet on the floor?

When I read books, I like to curl up on the couch and get comfortable …

Right now while typing this blog post, I am sitting in a comfy chair with my feet on a footstool, and the TV is on …

Why do we sit, lounge, relax when we do those things?

When you were in school, how did you sit when you read a book? How about when you were asked to write a story? 

I had a wonderful opportunity to visit an elementary school today where they have developed  some creative learning environments …

And many of those areas don’t have desks …

The principal at this school, Steven Weber, wants teachers to take risks and try things to impact students learning.

He tries to provide a model for risk taking …

And this is one of the results …

Weber repeatedly quoted a question from Alan NovemberWho owns the learning?

It was that question along with the focus of the school on the 4C’s (creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration) which serve as the inspiration for this area called a Learning Commons …

The schoolwide Learning Commons has inspired smaller Learning Commons spaces to be set up in classrooms all around the school!

There is just a different energy in this space …

One of the first things Weber said to me today about the Learning Commons was that Open Spaces Create More Opportunities

That statement stuck with me all throughout the day …

I enjoyed visiting classes, seeing interesting learning spaces in classrooms, and talking with teachers, but the best part of my day was seeing students in the Learning Commons space …

 

I mentioned earlier that there was just a different energy in this space …

Well, that energy intensifies so much when you add students …

Students who are not all doing the same thing at the same time …

Students who are not all using technology …

Students who are using what best fits to make the learning happen …

 

Since there are so many ideas bouncing around in my head, I am sure this will not be the only blog post about my day visiting the Learning Commons at Hillsborough Elementary School …

This is only the first of many to come …

Did you know that elementary school even has its own app?

 

 

Reader Comments (1)

I know this post is from a while back, but I found the comparison of home and learning spaces to be quite compelling. While I would never advocate that we treat schools like home in their entirety, I do think there is a lot of value in seeing just how much comfort and care we can build into our learning spaces.

"Open spaces create more opportunities" is a wonderful way of looking at our classrooms and our learning commons. But, I think the converse is something we must grapple with too. "Closed spaces" are holding us back. The more walls we put up or stuff we pack into a space, the less room there is for learning and creation to happen. Let's build these mini learning commons. Let's make them as open as possible.

P.S. This comment is a part of the #C4C15 project. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/C4C15

January 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBen Wilkoff

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