Classroom (un)Set-Up

In my previous role as PYP Coordinator I shared my perspective about why I think it is important to involve students in setting up the classroom. Now that I am back in the classroom is it time to practice what I preach!

This does not mean I plan to arrive the same day as the students, turn the key for the first time and say “have at it”. That would mistakenly be along the same lines as the common misconception that inquiry teachers do not plan. We do plan, we just do it a little differently…

So instead of spending the days before students arrive setting-up the classroom, I will instead use my time unsetting-up the classroom. And equally as important, thinking deeply and purposefully about how I will support students in the task of working together to set up our learning space once they arrive.

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This process have involved three simple steps: Purge. Sort. Wait.

The first thing I did was go through EVERYTHING. I took everything out of drawers, out of boxes, and off shelves. While I was doing this I was careful to purge things that were in poor condition, out of date or no longer needed.

Then, I sorted things into piles in different areas of the classroom.

I temporarily tucked away the desks and chairs…

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I put all the books in one place…

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I put all the furniture that could be used to display frequently used things in one place…

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I put all the furniture that could be used to store rarely used items in one place…

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I put all the bags, bins and boxes that could be used for organization in one place…

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I put all the learning resources in one place…

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I put all the consumables in one place…

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Now I wait. I wait for students to arrive so they can take ownership over the rest of this process and hopefully design a learning space that meets their needs as learners.

The cherry on top? This took 4 hours start to finish. In the past, setting up a classroom has taken me at least 20+ hours.

So what will I do in my spare time? Think. Think about how to orchestrate the process and support students to make this a success.

Will it be a success? I have no idea. I’m terrified… but also excited and hopeful!

Wish me luck! I’ll be sure to share how it goes along with my reflections on the process, what I learned and how my thinking changed after actually trying this will students.

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7 thoughts on “Classroom (un)Set-Up

  1. I LOVE this!! I did something similar with the 5th graders at AIS, but I was nowhere near as well-planned as you. I’m impressed and excited to see how it goes… I’m also sharing this with teachers here, who I think are very receptive to this kind of idea. I’m hoping someone will give it a go! 🙂

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