Ladies and gentleman: As we wind down this year of updates, changes and additions to my teaching, I am proud to present the most universally beneficial change of 2012.
The Supply Nook. (cue trumpet fanfare)
One thing that I’ve known for a while is that if you are going to expect students to own their learning, you have to be prepared for the effects. Students will want to individualize their experience. They will want to be who they are. So, I try to make as much stuff available as possible. Visible in this shot of the supply nook is paper (line, grid, dot, white, patty and construction in multiple colors), crayons, colored pencils, scissors, rulers, protractors, tape, stapler, highlighters, and when I took the photo, my calculator bin was on loan to the algebra teacher downstairs, but that’s usually there, too. I also keep a pencil cup so that my students don’t have to wait for me to help them deal with that.
Two years ago, I tried having everything in unlocked drawers, but the students forgot that they had resources available.
Last year I tried putting resources on the student pods, but I found that they students were pretty disrespectful to the resources. Lots of garbage was left in the bins. Items were getting stolen. Also, when the students had the resources, but didn’t necessarily need them, they would play with them (ruler helicopters… stuff like that), which led to resources getting broken.
Now that the geometry curriculum has been rewritten, I have found that the students are doing a lot more than they were. We moved away from textbook problems in favor of stuff the students can put their hands on. This change has amplified the need for resources. So, this year, I started with having the resources out along the counter top on the side of the room, but it wasn’t very streamlined. The configuration above has worked the best, yet. It is convenient, but not convenient enough to inspire frivolous use. The stuff is holding up well.
There it is. Best change of 2012.