Physical Space

*This page will be updated once I have settled into my new classroom.

Whiteboards: A former principal of mine made fun of me because I had very limited decorations on the wall. For me, too many decorations is very distracting and so I did not put up more posters, bulletin boards, etc. But he did get me thinking that I was wasting this space, thus I went to Lowe’s, where you can buy 4 ft x 8 ft whiteboards that they will cut in half for about $13 each. I bought six of these boards, had them all cut in half, and purchased screen door fasteners. Half of the boards, I kept in the back of the room for students to grab and put on their tables as large, non-permanent surfaces for group work. The other half I put up on the walls with fasteners so that students could work standing up, but they were also removable so that students could move them to present work to the class. This gave students multiple ways of collaborating and testing ideas that could be easily erased if they did not work out. It was also an easy way for me to see what everyone was working on no matter where I was in the classroom.

Seating: In addition to typical desks, I also picked up a couple cheap couches and coffee tables where students could “kick back” and work in a more comfortable space, especially if they needed a place to work outside of regular classroom hours. In the future, I will probably also pick up some bean bag chairs. This allows students to find space that is more comfortable to work in, but I was also very firm, letting students know that I would move them to an assigned seat if they abused the privilege of working wherever they wanted around the classroom, whether that be couches, standing, etc.

Computers: Sadly, he has taken much of his material down, but Jonathan Claydon out of Houston has inspired a lot of my thinking around classroom space. A big thing in his classroom was having multiple TVs hanging on the wall connected to his main computer so that students in the back of the room had another place to view the material being projected at the front of the room. This got me thinking that, combined with a laptop cart, this would be the perfect way for students to collaborate on projects utilizing tools such as Excel, Desmos, or Geogebra. By hooking up their laptops with HDMI cords, it would be an easy way for them to share their work with a small group as a presentation or collaboration. I’ll continue to mull this over…

Decorations: I will think more about this, but I’d like to organize the walls thematically, highlighting major areas for math research and some of the individuals at the forefront of this research. But then hang up the research that my students are doing in those fields, really highlighting their connection to the world beyond this classroom. I know this sounds very vague, but it is something I will continue thinking about because the whole idea of my New Zealand project was to connect to the world of mathematics beyond the classroom.