Educator Reflection Tips

Educator Reflection Tips (Snapshot #81): How are you reimaging learning spaces both inside and outside of the classroom?

Reimagining Learning Environments

As we welcome students back into the learning environment after almost two years, we must be intentional about the way we craft the space for students.

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Configuration of desks: Will you pair students off, keep desks in rows, or teach students how to move into groups? Collaboration is essential for students feeling valued, a sense of belonging, and also aids in learning.

If these walls could talk: Students will need to have visual reminders of prerequisite skills which may help them successfully master grade-level standards. Creating and hanging anchor charts are a great strategy to assist students with this.

Transitions: Classroom and Hallway transitions should include social distancing. Have you marked off spaces within the room to remind students of this as they are learning?

Materials and Supplies: How will you ensure all students have their own individual supply of materials? As the Pandemic rages on, the practice of using communal supplies may not be the safest route to continue.

Feedback: How will students share feedback with peers? Will you provide feedback on the spot, through conferencing, or some online method?

Reflect on your learning environment

Take a moment to reflect on your current learning environment. Then consider the following questions.

  • Is it similar or different from your pre-Pandemic classroom?
  • Can students learn by looking around at the walls?
  • What does feedback look like inside your classroom? For additional tips on ways to incorporate feedback into classroom practices, read Educator Reflection Tip #64 on teaching students how to provide feedback to peers.
  • Are transitions safe and smooth?

Open spaces provide safety for all. When possible, think about planning activities that involve students learning outdoors. Review the physical features of your school. Is there a space that could be used so students could learn outside of the traditional classroom?

Have you considered having class outside?

Open spaces provide safety for all. When possible, think about planning activities that involve students learning outdoors. Review the physical features of your school. Is there a space that could be used so students could learn outside of the traditional classroom? If not, are there simple materials that you could provide which will aid in quickly transforming areas into outdoor learning places for students.

Transforming Outdoor Learning Spaces

Add picnic tables which could be used as desks when observing the outside world, especially during Science activities.

Purchase carpet or foam squares that students could place on the sidewalk while working outdoors.

Steps and walkways can also be used to space students out when learning outdoors.

Free-standing hammocks could also be placed in an area to encourage reading. Thanks @AllysonApsey & @Hurleyelem for sharing this!

Learning Gardens are also a great way to teach life skills to students during the school day.

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