Yesterday was an exciting day, as the Grade 6 students worked together to create their teapot boxes for our Teapot Project. This Math/Social Studies/and The Arts integrated project took most of the day, but the results were fantastic.
I wanted to be able to share what was happening with the teachers that are going to be receiving these teapots (one from Australia, two from Ontario, one from Manitoba, and one from Wisconsin) as well as with the parents (who have told me that they enjoy seeing what’s happening in the classroom and what their students are learning). It was with this in mind, that I decided to tweet out photographs and videos of the learning, and I encouraged students to do the same, using the #teapot6bd hashtag. We all tweeted a lot yesterday, and when the day was over and I was archiving the tweets using Storify, I realized just how much was shared.
I also realized that yesterday was not about sitting in quiet classrooms. Students were active, engaged, and collaborating, and they really were making some noise. 🙂 I couldn’t help but think back to a comment that was made at the Ontario Social Media Symposium last weekend. After we shared in small groups, there was a full group discussion, and one educator (I wish I could recall the name) spoke about the noise volume in the room as we were sharing in our small groups. He said that at school, if there had been that much noise, many would walk by the room and wonder what was wrong. Our noise was all discussion on our given topics. We were sharing ideas and creating new ones. Yes, it was loud, but it was purposeful. I think that the same thing could be said about yesterday.
Reflecting back, earlier in the year, I was hesitant to share videos when the students weren’t quiet in the background. I wondered what others would think. Yesterday, I never even considered this. I knew that the talk was about Math, Social Studies, and Art, and how could this be bad? I think that embracing noise means making a change in mindset.
While I was okay with a slightly louder classroom than usual yesterday, I was also cognizant of the students that have difficulty with too much noise. Better than this though, they knew that the classroom environment would not work for them, so we spoke about other options. One group worked by the classroom door, in a small alcove space, where it was quieter. Two other groups worked in rooms just outside of my room, where I could still go back and forth and talk to them, but they had the environment they needed to be successful. Noise may work for some, but not for all.
What are your thoughts on a noisy classroom? How do you distinguish between on-task noise and off-task noise? How do you also accommodate for your students that need a quieter learning environment? I would love to hear your thoughts on these questions.