Classroom Redesign Journey
In 2016 CUE held what was then called Classroom Cribs conference. In 2017 the name changed to CUE BOLD and I attended the first CUE Bold event. In the fall of 2016, I was a newly assigned Instructional Technology TOSA. Having been a music director for 25 years I knew what great innovative music rooms look and feel like. But I did not have a good grasp on what an Innovative Classroom outside the music world looked and felt like. This is where CUE BOLD helped fill the gaps in my knowledge.
After going to CUE BOLD in 2017 I had a more focused idea of how to move forward in creating flexible learning spaces. After several meetings with our Deputy Superintendent, we developed a plan that went as follows.
We held a series of informal meetings at all five of our campuses (K-12) to talk about and answer questions teachers had about flexible classrooms. Due to the passing of a large bond we had the money in our facilities fund that we could use to start transforming classrooms. Teachers that attended these meetings were then given the opportunity to fill out a Google Survey on their interest in moving forward with redesigning their classroom. In this survey we asked questions like:
What kind of changes would you like to see?
If you had to prioritize one change what would it be?
Thinking about addition but subtraction what would you subtract?
All completed surveys were reviewed and site principals had a chance to way in on which classrooms they would like to see redesigned. Once we had narrowed down how many classrooms and grade levels of these classes we meet with Meteor Education. Meteor helped us define the types of furniture we would put in each classroom.
Our School Board approved the plan we had designed and the purchase order was placed near the end of the 2016-2017 school year. Due to the time needed for furniture to be shipped and arrive we scheduled the install for October 2017 during our Fall break. For phase II we will have the order placed in time for install during the summer but for phase II liked that students started the year with the old and had the room transform physically during the break. Seeing the student's faces and their excitement the first day with the new furniture was priceless!
I don’t want to fool anyone, it has not been all rosy with the changes made. The new room design has stretched some of our teachers. We have had some failures with desks that have broken and engeryball chairs that students have punchered with pencils. But the benefits far outway the problems. Many of the teachers whose rooms we redesigned have been purging their rooms of items that very easily clutter a classroom. Items such as large teacher desks being replaced by a small workstation, bookcase, and filing cabinets.
Now when I walk in the classrooms that were redesigned you see heightened student engagement, increase in collaborative work and students taking ownership of their learning.
We are not finished as our journey has just begun to shift our classrooms. It has been an exciting journey to BOLDLY GO FLEXIBLE!