Melinda won our “Design a Classroom” contest. In this post she shares her thoughts on the design.
Why is my “dream classroom” the ideal learning environment for my students and my teaching style?
My dream classroom is one adaptable to suit a variety of diverse learner needs! As a United States History teacher, I want learners to see history through the eyes of those that lived it, discuss topics in both whole and small group settings, and share their ideas and projects both verbally and in writing with our class and beyond.
The “things” I placed in my room are organized by table. Each table shows how learning might take place with students. For example, there are two document cameras and laptops together—one for each interactive board. One table has a set of student response clickers, one has tablets, and one table is empty. This design shows variety of lessons and interactivity among students and teachers. I envision days where a lot of technology is used seamlessly together while others might just use the interactive board, computer and document camera or no equipment at all.
Teaching U.S. History lends itself to connectivity. I see my room connecting with a museum at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, discussing an artifact with a Smithsonian historian in D.C., or just challenging a collaborating U.S. History teacher’s students to a 50 state game challenge. Having two interactive boards would allow activities like this to happen. Some days might be “paper/pencil” days, but this setup lends itself to a flexible atmosphere where one student group might be recording a podcast or writing a blog entry at a back table, while another group is writing a podcast script or recording a video, and another group might be reviewing their 50 states or completing map work on the large multitouch table.
Finally, the two screens on the far wall represent digital signage and a touch screen computer. One will play school messages, announcements, and access closed circuit TV while the other allows small groups of students to work on reviewing history specific content.
“Things” not shown in my model include voice recorders, video/photo cameras, wireless color printing, the “teacher station” with a very nice pc, headphone splitters, computers connected to the school’s media center for accessing/printing other media, an awesome audio system/surround sound with student/teacher microphones, and a tiered stage around the interactive boards. This history room also needs a set of U.S. and world maps because sometimes you need the ‘real thing.’
Designing the perfect class is, by no means, an easy task! Just like a good lesson plan, I put a great deal of thought into my design. The dream grasps the idea that learning should be collaborative and used regularly for learning and creating “stuff.” This contest helped me think about the “things” I already have that help my students learn the “stuff” they need to know.
Comments are welcome!
I have already enjoyed my new SMART Response PE clicker set several times with my six grade students. We reviewed for our state standardized test with the clickers, and students enjoyed the activity. They are so user friendly, and I can’t wait to use them with my new students in the fall. I have plans to incorporate them with opening and closing activities, including entrance and exit assessments and for formal assessment. I have enjoyed learning how to use this technology and found incorporating questions, graphics, and images within the SMART software easy.
Thank you, Teq for offering this contest. My students and school had fun voting for me, and I am grateful my classroom won!
Bio: Melinda Sprinkle is a sixth grade United States History Teacher for Bedford County Public Schools at Forest Middle School located in central Virginia. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescent Social Studies/History with an M.A. in Instructional Technology.