Saturday Stories: Classroom Models

Your Weekend Reads in Education

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the nature of learning spaces: how is your classroom functioning in its current state, and under your current model? What changes can you make to refresh your space and improve learning? Sometimes, taking a risk or conducting an experiment can be the ticket to uncovering a successful but innovative solution — and that might be just what your students need in 2018.

Learning environments take shape through a variety of separate but related factors. School climate, physical room layout, pedagogical strategies, instructional activities, and even student mindset all contribute to the functionality of your learning community as a whole. For the first few weeks of the year, pick one element of your classroom or school and focus on how it could improve. Do you need to change the way you make use of technology during lessons, or allow for more physical activity during core instruction? Perhaps your school climate needs improvement, and you could focus on gradually integrating social-emotional learning into everyday instruction.

For this week’s edition of Saturday Stories, we’ve gathered articles, stories, and guest blogs about classroom models and learning environments. Each addresses a different element of space — first grade teacher Blaine Dunsmore discusses how she brought movement to her classroom, and EdTech gurus Steven Anderson and Shaelynn Farnsworth take a look at what makes an “Authentic Classroom.” Read through the articles and see which element or approach best fits your classroom needs, and make striving for that change your educational New Year’s Resolution for 2018!

The Flipped Classroom Model: Stacey Roshan, Math Teacher

“As my flipped class has continued to evolve, my classroom space has become more student-centered, and we have time to do many activities I could not have dreamed of doing back in 2009.” — Stacey Roshan

Direct Instruction & #TeachingWhatWorks

“While it might seem restrictive to some at first glance, DI’s structure is actually the opposite: by focusing your teaching objective and streamlining the student response process, DI opens new, expressway channels for teacher-student communication.”

Creating an Authentic Classroom: Steven Anderson & Shaelynn Farnsworth

“The traditional “stand and deliver” instruction model negates the fact that teachers are no longer the source for all information. Authentic-Based Learning Environments emphasize the need for a shift in curriculum to one of Project and Problem Based Learning where students are immersed in learning that has them identify and solve real-world problems.” — Steven Anderson, Shaelynn Farnsworth

Adopting a Growth Mindset: Angela M. Wilson, M.S.Ed.

Focus on learning goals rather than performance goals. When students are given performance goals, or goals that assess knowledge, they perceive that they are being judged, and rely more on their fixed mindset.” — Angela M. Wilson

Student-Centered Learning Environments Using Technology

“Imagine a classroom where every student is actively engaged in the progression of a lesson, where students take ownership over their own learning, and where critical thinking skills are in constant development.”

Makerspaces, a New Model: Brittany Murro, iSTEM teacher

A makerspace is a place where students can imagine, build, create, tinker, explore, and play. It is an area where students have the freedom to follow their interests and their passions, where they get to sit in the driver’s seat and take charge of their own learning.” — Britany Murro

How to Get Secondary Students to Buy Into Social-Emotional Learning: Bethany Younkers, Teacher

“I did not move ahead in my curriculum or on my scope and sequence map of what needed to be covered. Instead, that day I checked the box to create an environment that my students could feel safe in and connected to.” — Bethany Younkers