April 18, 2011

A Decentralized Classroom Idea

Over the weekend I had been thinking a lot about white boards.  I couldn't even consider trying to figure out how many times my students have wanted to draw/write on my white boards.  They LOVE them! Then, over the weekend, my brother needed to get rid of a very large one from his place.  Of course I offered to take it off his hands, but that got me thinking about the space in my room.  Is there a way that I could provide my students with space to work on white boards in order to collaborate with one another on projects, lessons, etc.?

Thanks to modern science, there is.  I remembered seeing a post on Twitter from Jim Burke, about paint that turns a flat wall into a white board surface.  After researching I found that the paint is INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE!!!  For a kit that covers 50 square feet, it costs $174.99 + shipping.  So, I continued my search and found another solution, GoWrite Dry Erase Rolls.  They are an adhesive sheet that you place on a surface in order to create a whiteboard on any wall.  Some people have also reported that they use them to cover old chalkboards.

Here's the plan (This will be a summer project - you know how the school year gets):

  1. Get shorter, 2 shelf book shelves in my room
  2. Clear everything away from the two major walls in my room that have open space
  3. Create an arrangement for those things either on the remaining wall, near my Promethean Board, or in the center of the room
  4. Cover the walls with the Dry Erase Rolls
  5. Arrange the desks in the room so they are near the 2 walls, preferably at arm's length
The idea is that the students will be in a room that is centered around NO ONE.  Not me and not them.  The room will be centered in a way that will promote discussion, collaboration, work, sharing, etc.  I get giddy and excited whenever I describe the plan to my colleagues.  I wish it were summer now so I could get started.  It's going to be a lot of work, but this is definitely something that I am really looking forward to.

Let me know your thoughts.  Is your classroom centered around learning, or around the teacher?  Do you see this as beneficial?  Would you be willing to try it if possible?

At this point I am in the investigative phase and looking at all of the possible options.  The reviews are up and down for the dry erase rolls, so I'm open to new directions.

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