Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Magic of The Book and Good Friends

I'm a reader.  I've always been a reader, and I read everything.  Fiction. Non-Fiction. You name it, and I read it.  This summer I was tasked to read Creating Cultures of Thinking by Ron Ritchhart.  I will admit I was a bit apprehensive, but CurlyUni assured me I'd love it and it would change my world view.  She was right, as she is most of the time, and my mind was blown.  

The book gave me purpose and inclination to think outside the box of what a classroom should look like.  We have advanced from the Industrial Revolution, so why do our classroom still look like a throwback to the 1840s? Desks in lines with the black/whiteboards the center of the classroom.  Why do we feel we must label where children sit and where they get their materials? What is the need to structure every inch of a classroom that is supposed to belong to students.  We are no longer preparing our children to work in factories, so why do our classrooms still look like it? We are preparing our students for jobs that don't yet exist, and our classrooms need to be innovative places.  Along with The Book, I looked to the most innovated companies to see what their workspaces looked like.  Google offices became my new go-to on the redesign of my room.  

All summer, with The Book in hand and my Unis on text message, I contemplated leaping outside of my 1940s-era classroom and wondered what I could do to change it.  CurlyUni loves innovation in every way, shape, and form.  YellowHairUni loves interior design.  My relationships with these amazing women sealed the deal.  I was abandoning my desks in favor of flexible seating, and my mission had begun.  Goodbye cabinets with peeling paint.  Hello cabinets with chalkboard paint! 

Trips to Ikea yielded a couch on SUPER sale, (74.99 from 299.99), and outings to Goodwill, MAM, Target, Walmart, DollarTree, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot and Five Below with MyUnis resulted in an empty wallet but a classroom full of stools in varying sizes, new tables, body pillows, back rests, lap desks, chalkboard paint, lamps and braided rugs.  I'm scared for my sanity, but my room now looks more like a coffeehouse or a hangout than a classroom.  The Book assures me that my kids will love it and be more likely to work hard in a place that is comfortable and chill.  Only time and anti-anxiety meds will tell. 

Wish me luck!

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