Hi! I want to let you know about a new adventure I embarked on this year or should I say "we". My teaching partner, Eryn and I decided to take the wall down in-between our two rooms and "team teach". Well, most people thought "Are you crazy?" or "Why would you do that?" ... so yes, we had to really think about this before jumping in. We spent A LOT of time this summer rearranging our classroom with our students in mind. We had two small rooms which we did not fit so nicely into. We managed but really were cramped for space. So the first thing we did was decide what we were going to keep and what were we able to get rid of to make this work out. We got rid of a lot!! We did get rid of big pieces of furniture, we combined a lot of curriculum because we only needed 1 of some items. Our library was consolidated into one big area for all of our students which can easily be accessed. Students are able to spread out now amongst two classrooms.
A big part of what our goal this year was to create a "calm" classroom. Our colors are mostly shades of blue, green, black, white and grey. We built fish containers with our students and put them at each table. The tables that were purchased for us have played an important part of increasing student collaboration. They are 2 trapazoids put together and can fit 6 around. We had long tables prior to this which were hard for our students to all see each other and communicate. A lot of flexible seating was added so spreading out and going to a place where you feel comfortable to work was now much easier. Organization is what is helping us find everything we need! We labeled all of our containers, books, supplies, centers etc...
A wall was kept up by our rugs in the front of the room so we can still have two different lessons up and running at the same time. The students are all engaged in what the activity is and the two lessons do not interfere with each other. This allows us to differentiate the lessons according to student ability.
Well, we thought we were going to have a combined class of 40 ~ it did go up to 46 students. (which we have found still very doable) Here are some pictures of what our room looks like.
We are thrilled so far at how this has worked out and will continue to update all of you ~
Yes! I would definitely suggest trying this approach to teaching.... though I am not sure if it would work with everyone ~ it takes a lot of collaboration, consideration to make it work! But when it does, it is a magical place for your students! :)