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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My House aka My Classroom

When I was very young, there was a show on ABC called the Curiosity Shop.  Three kids would enter this shop and puppets and a witch would introduce them to a wide variety of learning experiences.  And of course, who can ever forget Mr. Rogers, who welcomed us into his house everyday.  It was so intimate, that he allowed us to watch him change his shoes to sneakers.  One thing these show had in common, they wanted kids to feel comfortable in someone else's house.

I know there is a move to allow your students ownership of your classroom.  It's not YOUR space it is OUR space or even THEIR space.  I have read about how ditching your teacher's desk allows students to see that you are serious about that.  I take a different approach.

I flat out tell my kids the classroom is where I will spend most of my waking hours over the next 10 months.  The one island I have is the area behind my desk to the back wall.  I call it "My House".  No one can enter it without permission.  And it does have an alarm (me yelling "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE")

Here is why I do it like this:

1) Students would see it as disingenuous for me to say it is our/their classroom.  I teach 8 sections of history, students would recognize that with so many students coming in and out, it cannot truly be their classroom.

2) It helps teach boundaries and respect.  We all have personal space and property that we expect to be respected by others.

3) An adult designed a place for kids.  Just like Mr. Rogers and the Curiosity Shop, I had young people in mind when designing my room.  It is not filled with history posters, but sport, movie, plastic snowmen, etc.  Some of the items in my room have been given to me by former students to display.  And it is not that I do not seek suggestions of what to do in the classroom.  Just like a good architect, I need to hear the needs from the people who will be occupying the space, not just the landlord.

No matter how you go about it.
Students need to feel comfortable
In Your/Theirs/Our Classroom
For Engagement to Occur

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