Day 94: Erica Armstrong, French and Tech Teacher (Fairlawn Public School)

Hi! My name is Erica and I am a French and technology teacher at Fairlawn Public School. I love photography, skating, travel and Pepsi. I also love continually challenging myself and my students to create with technology.

Classroom Tour 2015

Last summer, I posted a classroom tour. I had all my technology in place, but besides that, the room was quite empty. Since then, the furniture I ordered last year arrived and my space has been transformed. I figured it was high time for an update.

Before picking out anything, I spent a lot of time thinking about the atmosphere I wanted in my room. I wanted students to be comfortable, inspired and productive.

I spoke with a few of my classes and their ideas for the space were very clear. Comfort was incredibly important to them. And why not? I certainly want to be comfortable when I’m working. My discussions with them confirmed that I should trust my gut – a space *I* would want to work in is a space they would want to work in.

I wanted pieces that were functional but flexible. They needed to work with a variety of tech tools, facilitate collaboration, allow for student choice in work space (standing vs sitting vs laying down), and balance comfort with durability and practicality.

I was highly inspired by “library 2.0” learning spaces, what I’d experienced as a student at the post-secondary level, and to some degree, even Starbucks. I drooled for a long time over the EDU 2.0 line from Bretford, but ultimately went for something simpler and less expensive. All products were from our board’s approved vendor listing.

Despite getting out the blueprints and mapping things the best I could, it was challenging to pick out furniture for the space and try to visualize it all in my room.  I was really pleased when it all came together almost exactly as I hoped.

Entrance from the hallway & a display celebrating the views on our YouTube channel:

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Straight ahead immediately inside the door – a storage area, where we keep our sets of mobile technology that classrooms can sign out:
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Turn to the left and you enter the classroom:

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From this angle, a panoramic view of the space:

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Overall, it has a variety of work spaces and a variety of self-serve tools – both low and high tech. Students are free to chose where they work, whether they stand, sit or lay down, and what tools they will use to accomplish their goals. I let them choose whether they will work alone, in pairs or in groups. It is rare that all students are working on the same task at the same time.

Here are some close-ups of some of the details of the space:

Where this space really shines is during nutrition breaks (or energy breaks, as they’re known at our school). Students elect to come to the space to work in one of six main areas: lego robotics, lego mechanics, video production, photography, web development and coding. This was one break today:
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Here are some more pictures of the space in action:

 

EDIT: I could not resist adding a picture from our busiest tech club yet. We had over 60 students across all grade levels working independently on a huge variety of their own initiatives. It looks like chaos, but it was amazing. A quick thumbs up/thumbs down poll at the end told me the students thought so, too!

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Reblogged from http://msarmstrong.ca/2015/01/27/classroom-tour-2015/

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