Over the summer I purchased a recliner, large couch, two throw rugs and several interesting framed prints. I took these to my class room along with a huge wooden bookshelf and several other framed prints from home. I converted a large sterile classroom into Dr. T’s Learning Lounge and Lab.
Students responded positively right from the beginning. Students love to sit and read or talk on the couch. A few students even stop by during lunch to take a nap. As the room was it did not invite ownership of the learning space. Now students take more ownership as evidenced by their willingness to keep their workspaces clean without prompts from me.
I believe in the teacher-student collaborative relationship and the power of that relationship to increase buy-in on the part of the student. Students have expressed appreciation that I would care enough to want to make their class a special learning space. They have rewarded me with the currency of buy-in. Students seem more engaged and test scores are up compared to last spring. Students get excited about being Student of the Week. Students receive recognition for demonstrating improvement, good citizenship or achieving remarkable scores during the week. The SOW gets to use the recliner during class.
Other than having to vacuum the rugs myself the strategy seems to do everything I had hoped. Students seem more engaged and have built good learning relationships with me and other students. This fall I begin looking for a company to donate a number of two-seater couches so I can complete the transition by completely replacing the traditional classroom tables and chairs.
Come by for a visit and see for yourself!