Can you tell that I'm continually struggling with space issues at school--why?
I think it's because I'm always changing the way we learn in ways that require different types of spaces. There are times when everyone needs to be facing forward to watch a film or listen to an explanation. Then there are times when small group work is best. There's time for paper/pencil, individual work and times for building and making too. And then there is the need for those cozy nooks and crannies, comfy chairs, and rugs when students want to read. Recess requires games, toys, and play spaces too. In this regard, my classroom is continually morphing into different spaces. The addition of lots of new furniture has also complicated the matter. While the furniture is fresh and new, it's also big and takes up space. What's a teacher to do?
Just now, a colleague wrote to request a few forms that are at school so tomorrow morning I'll go in and spend a couple of hours remaking the room again. I'll try to fit it all the needed materials and equipment in ways that offer the varied spaces and materials in neat, accessible ways to complement the many ways of teaching and learning that happen in a school.
Our shared teaching model has helped with regard to space in that now my space is devoted to mainly math and STEAM work. This means that I have more room for hands-on maker activities--this is good. The other rooms and teachers have more space to devote to writing/social studies and science/reading too. We also have a lab in the middle of our classrooms which mainly serves us well, but the scheduling makes it a bit tricky to use--that is something we need to look at next year with closer scrutiny. The library is close by too which is terrific when it comes to students' ease of choosing and returning books.
As I write, I realize that I may have to get rid of some of the furniture. There simply may be too many pieces there such as the new desk that was delivered or the old supply closet that's filled with materials I rarely use anymore.
The quick pace of teaching/learning change today creates this need to continually rethink and remake the classroom space to meet the needs of new teaching and learning. It's worth the investment of a few extra hours to make the space match the goals you have for the children Onward.