Monday, 4 February 2013

Classroom make over

I walk into my classroom and immediately feel down, because of the drab and dull colours of the walls, small windows and horrible florescent lights. That, plus the fact that the chairs and tables are all facing forward like they have always done. This seating plan doesn't work well for the group work which I like to do.

I felt it the classroom was in dire need of a make over, for my sake and even more, for my students. I had noticed that of late they seem less and less enthused about being in the class for 4 hours a day. With this in mind, I decided to create a project to tackle this. All the information can be found below with pictures from the students' work. 

Taken from students' Wiki page

The objectives for this project were:
- Research;
- Sharing ideas via a Wiki page;
- Team work & Collaboration;
- The creation of a new classroom;
- Using pictures & video to explain the design;
- A collaborative written report of more than 600 words;
- A group presentation of the final design. 

- 75% final product assessment from the teacher;
- 25% self-assessment from each student;
- Group assessment to corroborate self-assessment.

Step 1 - The project
Put the students in groups. Preferably in 3s of mixed ability to better facilitate the group process. Then, with the whole class, brain storm things which the students feel could be improved upon in the classroom. For example, seating plan, colour scheme, furniture. 

Step 2
Research time: Using the Wiki page the students will be able to upload, collect and share pictures, video and ideas. 

* I've noticed that when each group makes task notes with deadlines, it keeps the group process moving along for each member.

Step 3
Get each group to hold regular meetings to talk about progress and next steps. Also to find out if each member is sticking to the task notes and deadlines that they create. 

Step 4
About half way through the project, ask the students to do a self-assessment. I do this, because it makes each student think about if they are doing enough work in the group.

Step 5
Using the Wiki page you will be able to monitor each group's progress. I usually highlight new and interesting work to the whole class. This keeps each group aware of what the others are doing. It also gives them the little push to do more when they have seen what the others have done. 

Step 6
When the project is done, ask the students to do the self-assessment again (Step 4). You can use this score as part of the 25%. For the final 75% you could use the rubrics below.

Step 7 - Writing
When the Wiki page has been completed, the students wrote an advantage & disadvantage essay highlighting the advantages of the newly designed classroom and disadvantages of the current one. This was a course requirement and also allowed me to prevent any plagiarism as the essay content is too specific.

*The written aspect would easily work as a reflective essay also.

Step 8 - Speaking
The students also created a group presentation. They then presented their project and ideas to the other groups. 

Below you'll be able to watch a video. In it I show you some of the work that the students have done.

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