Learning Spaces

Learning should not be regulated to just the classroom. I am not the only one who feels this way, just check Instagram and Facebook posts.Learning spills out into the hallways and beyond in many schools. In the schools I visit, I often observe that the hallways, multipurpose room, and even the kitchen are often transformed into learning spaces.

Using a hallway floor as a backdrop, the first and second graders employed a Design Thinking Cycle to arrange miscellaneous items into a page for an I Spy bookAnother time, one may have seen these same students jumping on a student sized number line as they explored numbers and addition. Or determining directions on a neighborhood map.

Literature thinking and engineering challenges may be discovered in multipurpose rooms. Other times students are doing robotic coding in hallways. Applying fractions to cooking has been a focus for a number of classes in the kitchen. Teachers take advantage of these addtional learning spaces to conduct guided reading sessions, organize collaborative activites, and encourage paired reading through book nooks in the hallway.

Since there is no set art classroom, one school transforms their multipurpose room into an art studio. Another created a garden for contemplation and earth science lessons. Of course, a trend in education today is makerspaces. While these are not spaces that teachers just use because they are available like the hallway, makerspaces are designed to with express purpose to enlarge the learning space opportunities for students.

Another trend is purposefully having open spaces with a variety of furnishing. Students who need a few moments of solitude to get an assignment done may be found sitting on an oversized chair. Or if a group needs the floorspace to work on their Rube Goldberg design, these open spaces are ideal.

What about virtual field trips? Take the learning out of the building without the cost of a bus or plane. Many museums offer just such opportunities, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/metkids/ will take you to the virtual site for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Don’t discount the learning that the playground offers. Social-Emotional lessons need a space to be practiced. The playground football game is perfect for trying out the conflict resolution skills discussed in classes. With guidance from an adult monitoring, students often work through social concerns as they decide who gets the skip rope first.

By using the variety of learning spaces your school can create or just take advantage of, you can remind students that learning is not a segregated activity that is done in just one learning space. Take a look around your school and see what hidden learning spaces are available for you and your students.

What spaces are you using to extend your classroom? Share your ideas with EdTech EASE on Twitter (@edtechease) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/edtechease/) or email me, swladis@edtechease.com

Originally posted on Friday, 08 March 2019.

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