I am SO excited about the changes that have recently happened in Rm. 202. (In case you’re just joining the story, be sure to catch up here before you go on. I promise it’ll help this video make more sense. 🙂 Or at least it will make you super happy because you read the stories of some super cute and super smart kiddos solving problems!) But beyond the changes we’ve made in our room, I’m even more excited that the room tour is finally finished so we can officially show it off to you–from a kid’s point-of-view! With the help of Rm. 202 kiddos, my own kiddos Riley and Allie, and even Ms. Turken (our next door teaching neighbor), we created a video to show how each zone works and explain what we might do in each one. It ended up a little long (almost 10 minutes!), but we promise it’ll be worth your while to watch it (and maybe even share it, too!). Grab your popcorn and press play below when you’re ready! Here we go!
I wanted to take just a second to put in my two cents about the positive changes I’ve seen in my students since we first started addressing ICEL and working to create a more engaging, motivating experience in Rm. 202. 🙂
One of the biggest positives that has come out of our room redo is the amount of time my students spend engaged and learning. While I thought I was doing a great job of making things interesting, open-ended, giving lots of choice and opportunity in their learning, my students’ behavior was showing me that they needed more. Or at least that they needed something else. What I realized after our zone creation was that our environment previously offered TOO MUCH choice. Too much room for interpretation and too many things that were confusing to many kiddos.
Watching the way Rm. 202 students interact with both our room and each other now, I can see how much more confident and safe many of them feel. Before, when I thought I was providing a place to be free and creative, for many I was creating a space that was unfriendly and unpredictable with too many unknowns. I see now that, in many ways, I KNEW how things were supposed to work, but students were less sure. Now that areas are clearly marked and labeled, and THEY HAD A JOB in creating these areas, students are never unsure about what is allowed and what is not, nor do they wonder where they should go to work on certain things.
Another thing I didn’t anticipate but that I LOVE is how clean our room has been over the last few weeks. Partly this came about because when you move things around you end up throwing away a lot of junk, sweeping under things, decluttering, etc., but I know it’s always because now EVERYONE knows where EVERYTHING goes! No longer is there a question about where the games are housed, or where the Lego shelf is supposed to be, whether or not you should have books or iPads in a certain part of the room, or where the art supplies go. There are a couple of kiddos who have really taken it upon themselves to help keep this up, too, and this makes the whole thing so much easier. We’ve begun teaching a couple of kiddos exactly what it means, too, when I say “clean up”–as this was a skill in which they were lacking.
I am SO GLAD that we did this, and am super glad that the benefits can be seen by all of us who live in Rm. 202–not just me. I don’t know if you caught it, but I believe that in the video section about The Kitchen, Mara mentioned that zones help us feel more calm. I can totally see now that my students needed more freedom within a STRUCTURE with STRONG BOUNDARIES, not just freedom that came willy-nilly or with lots of breathing room. There are some kids who can function in any situation, but there are some who have a hard time figuring things out when there is lots of “gray.” This renovation, if you will, added a layer of black and white that we didn’t know we needed. And the best part is that it all happened BEFORE we left for Winter Break, so now we can start the New Year fresh and clean in a brand new room, looking ahead to some amazing days to come! 🙂
Happy New Year, Rm. 202!
Before you go, can I ask you a favor? If you’re a parent of a friend in Rm. 202 and you have a specific story to share about how our redo has helped your kiddo, will you share it in the comments? We’d love to hear more about the positive ways our problem-solving has helped. If you’re a friend of Rm. 202 and have a question, comment or suggestion for us, will you share it also? We’d love to tell you other parts of the story that maybe we missed. 🙂 THANKS FOR VISITING!!