Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Do the Impossible

Do you "dwell in possibility" or bemoan the impossoble? Today, I am imagining possibilities for public education, schools and my classroom. Here are thirteen wishes for the thirteenth of March:

1. Public education is fully funded.
2. Disparity from site to site, city to city or building to building has disappeared.
3. Teachers have time and energy to develop expertise.
4. Schools, students and teachers are abundantly supplied.
4. Curriculum inspires curiosity.
5. Monies, once used for high stakes testing, now build and open neighborhood schools and fund students' inquiry/research/creative projects and travel.
6. Students have time to investigate and cultivate passion.
7. School schedules are flexible and based on learner or project needs.
8. Learning in other countries and with people of other cultures is par for the course.
9. Everyone reads and writes in more than two languages.
10. Law and policy makers from all levels of government spend two weeks a year teaching in classrooms and mentoring students through inquiry or research on topics of students' choosing; we have plenty of students and space for each to take a class for a three-year cycle.
12. Everyone knows everyone else's name in a school and in a district.
13. Joy run rampant across campuses.

A few weeks ago, truly it might be more than a month as Jebuary seems a Gaussian blur, I was listening in on Twitter to talk about Maker Spaces in schools. I've been designing such a dream space in my mind since. My English-y maker space would be the size of skating rink. It would likely include the DJ booth, video games, disco ball and colored track lighting as well as the following:
  • glass--walled, soundproof, media booths in each corner equipped with tall desk, laptop, quality audio and video recording equipment, large flat screen, projection system, high-speed connection 
  • each media booth would be distinguishable by comfy chair type: bean bag, rocking chair, recliner or wing back
  • a host of technology (tablets, laptops, desktops, cameras, scanners) trade-in-able, check-out-able based on need  or desire
  • a staging area complete with turn-table, trap door and flying apparatus
  • space for  permanent sets for video production (3-4 maybe, depends on size)
  • unlimited, near magical storage both in the space and in the cloud
  • a long workbench with high stool stations to seat 20 above which a variety of tools are labeled and organized by purpose- tools would accommodate variety of media to create any manner of gadget, set or design 
  • a rich and flexible classroom library which changes as students' needs change and which contains print and electronic texts 
  •  an  Granny (or Grammpy) Cloud area
  • a discussion circle with a fire pit center
  • a small glass-walled theatre/film space whose walls turn opaque during screenings
  • collaborate learning/meeting spaces in the middle of the room: 3-5 chairs grouped around tablet-topped tables with build in charging and projection stations
  • drop-down, fully-connected wide screen for whole-class or large-group presentations
  • a fully-equipped small group editing room to meet radio, television, or other broadcasting needs
  • 12 to 1 student teacher ratio in the Maker Space 

Visit Two Writing Teachers


  1. This sounds magical...

    One of my Twitter friends and collaborators on the class Tweet-ups, John Hardison, has an amazing class space, which he shows in several videos:

    I wish I could go to ISTE and see his presentation. I'd like to meet him in person!

  2. What a positive space to learn, this Maker Space you've imagined, Lee Ann!

  3. I like your lists. I like the quote. I LOVE you focus on the positive. This is what keep s us going and brings joy. Thanks for spreading smiles.

  4. What a fun writing topic! As I anticipate my return to the classroom (not sure when that will happen), I have been drafting how I want my students to learn - routines, lessons, units, PBL, tech, assessment, grades . . .all of the things I read about every day. But I have not given a moment's thought to my ideal learning space. I love your ideas and now I am excited to think of my own.

    1. What?! I need to hear more about this anticipated return to the classroom. How exciting and how lucky those students will be!