Utopia

At our last Professional Development day, we were asked to reflect (for our next staff meeting in April, on what our dream or Utopian classroom would be based on our visit to  http://www.julieacunningham.com/2011/03/technicolor-dream-classroom/comment-page-1/#comment-9598.

After careful consideration, I think that my Utopian classroom would include the following:

1. Technology
I don’t necessarily envision a 1:1 environment with laptops for every student however, I would love to see a 1:1 environment that would allow students to bring in the technologies that they already have such as iPod Touches in order to engage them in their learning. This would also involve having a wi-fi network that is not closed off to students so that they are able to access the outside world and use the different educational apps on their devices. I would also love to see a small bank of laptops or desktop computers equipped with programs for video editing.

2. Inquiry, Inquiry, Inquiry
My Utopian classroom would be one in which I am not bogged down by the “content bloated prescribed curriculum” (@joebower) in which we are more concerned about the students test scores at the end of the year than we are on helping them to really delve deep into their learning. I am great with knowing the content and asking the BIG ideas however, I feel restricted by the “tests” at the end of year and don’t feel like I can do a good enough job of inspiring my students to learn and to allow them to learn what interests them.

3. Innovation Day
Point 2 leads me to my third point. I would love to introduce an Innovation Day in which the students choose what they want to learn that day; they create a project, bring in the supplies and are given the entire day to produce and explore their idea.

4. Classroom Blogging
I would love to give my students the opportunity to blog about their learning (digital portfolio) and to demonstrate whenever they want to their parents, friends, relatives and others worldwide about what they are learning and how they are learning it. I would like to see someone other than me providing, the feedback necessary for the students to grow and develop as learners.

5. Live Streaming Visuals
I would love to use more live streaming visuals such as Skype in my classroom to help my students connect with others in the world and to create their own Learning Network (like I have done using Twitter).  I would then like to archive these videos and add them to our blog so that the students can go back and refer to them on an ongoing basis as part of their learning journey.

6. Team Teaching
I would really enjoy being given the opportunity to team teach with one of my colleagues, Michelle Kershaw, as I have the content knowledge and she has the Inquiry Knowledge. I would love to see us open up the barn doors permanently and teach the students in all subjects the way we’ve been doing it in math as of late. I feel that this provides the students with the opportunity to collaborate with one another and to learn from one another and to develop those skills that are necessary to work effectively in today’s world because we very rarely work in isolation.

7. Time
I would love to have a classroom in which I am given the time necessary to collaborate more effectively with my team. An environment in which I don’t have to do over 2 hours of supervision every four days. (I know not possible but this is my Utopia) I would love to be in an environment where there are fewer interruptions and we are able to go with the momentum of student learning rather than stopping and waiting for the next learning opportunity.

What would your Utopian classroom look like?

 

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carolyn Cameron
    Mar 20, 2011 @ 12:12:21

    Great post, Jessie. So glad to see you visioning your perfect classroom! I love your ideas for using technology to make student learning public – kids are so motivated when they are creating projects for authentic audiences (not just for the teacher) and when they can get feedback from a variety of sources. I am also very excited to hear your interest in exploring team teaching further. When I had the opportunity to share classroom space and students with my colleagues, I experienced my most rewarding moments as an educator – the very private act of teaching became a shared experience and the energy we created in our classroom was contagious!!!! I look forward to seeing you and Michelle continue your teaming – what lucky kids!!!! As for the supervision…sorry…keep dreaming:) We’ll continue pushing, though, to find ways for our school day to include collaborative planning/feedback time. Thanks for being so dedicated to making our school a place where kids are engaged and curious about learning. You are a gem!

    Reply

    • jessiekrefting
      Mar 22, 2011 @ 04:31:58

      Thanks Carolyn! I look forward to working more closely with Michelle also. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity last June to join the GCMS team. Although the learning curve has been steep and the road a little bumpy, I think that I am becoming a better educator as a result of my time here!

      Reply

  2. Dave Gale
    Apr 23, 2011 @ 14:49:49

    Nice list. I particularly like all the bits about techology although if it’s Utopia then I’d go for class sets of laptops, IPads, etc 😉

    One of my things would be to have tables that are flexible enough to allow individual work, paired work, group work or whole class discussion.

    If points 6 and 7 were allowed, I think there would be some awesome lessons/learning. (awesome is my new Ofsted rating above outstanding.)
    Dave
    @reflectivemaths

    Reply

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