Schoolroom Swag

Elementary Teacher

Having fun in the classroom and "balancing" life!

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Cave, A Campfire, and a Watering Hole

I just read about an interesting guy named David Thornburg. He seems to live in Brazil and the United States, from what I can tell.  He is a future-thinker and has some cool ideas. I like the way he thinks about new classroom spaces helping students to learn, and more importantly, to "think".  He has developed some easy to implement ideas in classroom design. He encourages classrooms to have these parts (as soon as you see them, you'll understand what he means):

Watering hole
Mountain Top

Here's what he means:
Watering hole: a place to come together to exchange ideas
Campfire: here is where we share stories, exchange ideas and allow the group to build on each others’ ideas.
Cave: a place to withdraw from the noise of the classroom to be alone with your thoughts and reflection. A place to explore questions and make connection
Mountain Top: where we celebrate and share learning ‘one to many’. You ‘sing it from the mountaintop’.
Sandpit: here you play, prototype, and experiment without worrying about mess, water or damaging surface

This analogy appealed to me because it's true in our personal lives, and should also be true in the classroom. We can achieve these places in our classrooms using what we already have. We don't need new and expensive furniture. We just need to put ourselves in the mind of our students. What spaces do they need each day? Can they go to a corner and cool off? Can they engage with each other to share learning? 

As I read more about classroom design, some of the ideas out there seem to me to be exactly that. "Out there." Maybe not bad, maybe even great, but also not exactly realistic. I try to remember these 3 key ingredients:

all things in moderation
balance, and
some is better than none.

That's why David's idea of the cave and the campfire appeal to me. It's easy for me to process, understand why it's desirable, and then implement. I can use what I already have.
A "cave" in the corner.
A "watering hole"
See that rug area in the front? Our "campfire."
Find these areas in your classroom. You probably already know where they are. If not, take 20 minutes. I bet you can move some desks just a little, and there they will be.
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

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