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High school physics and Math teacher in Moorpark, CA

I have set up my classroom in

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I have set up my classroom in modular form for the last 10 years or so. We do collaborative learning and project based activities. The ideas in this article are inspiring, but the difficulty I have is trying to do creative work with 40 students in the classroom. In a 20 x 30 room there is just not sufficient space to be too creative with arrangements. It tends to degenerate into crowd control.

Thank you for sharing your

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really like the idea of creating spaces for students to get away and have quiet time. I have noticed that every year I have students that need this. Because of my classroom environment students know that they can move around the room and work on the floor or at a different table. This year I will make it a point to designate spaces for the students. I also like the idea of a tinker station. One thing I have done in the past that created good conversations was a "Question Poster" I change it ever week or so. I write something like, "The answer is 24. What is the question" Student can write anything down that applies. I encourage them to find facts in books. At the end of the week we discuss the questions. I might get; "How many inches are in two feet?, How many hours are in a day?, How tall can an African Elephant grow?" It's a wonderful way to get the kids excited about teaching their peers.

Community Manager at Edutopia

For Back to School, we're

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For Back to School, we're launching a series of articles and videos specifically around remaking the classroom. For example, here's the first of a three-part series showing the process of how one classroom was transformed into a collaborative learning environment:

http://www.edutopia.org/remake-your-class-collaborative-learning-video

There are some interesting lessons in how to think about the design process as well as some goals to shoot for.

Director, 21st Century Schools

How about giving the students

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How about giving the students a design challenge - let them create a way to design a thinking space classroom.

Director, 21st Century Schools

See this beautifully designed

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See this beautifully designed school - the Anne Frank Inspire Academy - designed by Fielding Nair.

http://enewsjuly.weebly.com/anne-frank-inspire-academy---a-21st-century-...

Pre-service teacher

Inspirational classroom ideas

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I loved reading this article. As a pre-service teacher I am so excited about all of the possibilities there are in creating an 'ideal' classroom. The idea of creating a 'thinking space' is something all teachers should strive to create. Admin, budgets and physical space provide some barriers to creating thinking spaces as described above. Therefore a teacher must do they best they can with what they have got. We spend all day asking students to be creative but now is the time for the teacher to be creative in the way they use their resources.

support from all

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"Google-izing" classrooms might be the future of our classroom environments. How exciting.

However, I think it would be extremely difficult for an individual educator to effectively utilize PBL without active collaboration, cooperation, and support inter-classes and intra-school between students, teachers, administrators, AND parents. If inter-classroom collaboration isn't made, then it'd be extremely difficult for CCSS or other state standard based classes be covered efficiently on it's own.

Although resources, criticism, and the CCSS might restrict educator creativity, it shouldn't limit them from experimenting as long as the educator has objectives nested with the standards.

middle school teacher, English/Humanities

To Inspire Thought

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A teacher's most important job is to inspire thought. Thought about grammar, thought about geometry, thought about life, etc... I have not taught in a classroom yet, so I can only imagine what my classroom might be like. I hope it involves desks facing eachother at times, in a big circle, or in little groups of circles. I hope it encourages deep thought about the history and future of writing skills, from ancient history to books/news articles/scholarly reviews that my future students might write or be engaged with.

This post was very

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This post was very interesting, because it is such a different approach to hands-on learning and critical thinking. The space created is huge! I like how creating and discovering new project ideas can be done through students interacting and discussing together. I’m not sure if we will be seeing this type of learning in our schools, but I know one day we will get there. Maybe if a large building could be rented out by different schools and they could share the space to do these types of projects? Budget is a huge factor, but I think it’s possible for teachers to be creative and come up with alternative ideas to make learning more hands-on and fun. This idea kind of reminds me of the Hands-On Children’s Museum where children can learn and have fun with their surroundings at the same time.

Journalist and PBL advocate

Smart Observation

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Hi John,
Thanks for sharing your keen insights. You and Jennifer are describing "conversational classrooms," which go hand-in-hand with PBL. Sure, project work is noisier than a room where only the teacher is talking. But it's noise with a purpose, and that purpose is all about learning. Thanks for encouraging other admins to pay attention to where and how learning is happening, not how quiet or compliant the students are.

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Suzie Boss Journalist and PBL advocate

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