At my school, we are all about empowering students. As a staff, we work hard to encourage student leadership, to recognize the efforts of aspiring leaders, and to nurture the qualities we want our students to take with them after they leave our care. We listen to what they have to say. When students are given opportunities to learn responsible behaviour, they learn to become responsible. When they’re given opportunities to be trusted, they learn to be trustworthy (thanks Maggie Colquhoun for that one). When they are given opportunities to push the boundaries, they learn to think outside the box, to get creative, to question.
And so it made sense, mid-year, to do some rearranging…to build on what they had already mastered. We decided to move our 4 Intermediate classrooms to one end of our school where 4 classrooms extend out onto a wide open space we call “The North Foyer”. Students have long used the hallways of their building as learning spaces, and so to provide our older students with a dedicated space where opportunities for learning could take many more shapes and forms, with more collaborative learning opportunities, made sense to us. Our Junior students who used to use that space are now aligned with the rest of our Junior division and are loving their new rooms.
The really cool part was the day we actually swapped classrooms. Kudos to our custodial staff who were on hand to provide support where needed. One of our custodians actually commented after the fact that it was really cool to see the students take ownership of the day. They all pitched in and worked collaboratively to 1) move their desks, chairs, supplies, locker contents, teacher resources, books, tech equipment, etc., 2) set up their new rooms.
I watched kids plan the layout of their new spaces, to brainstorm together the best plans, and when they didn’t quite work the way they thought, to go back to the drawing board and try again.
It was a great day and boy are the kids happy! One of them even asked if we could have a ribbon cutting ceremony! And so we did.