What’s Your #VisibleThinking And #VisibleLearning Around Classroom Set-Up?

For years, Lisa Noble has tweeted about #visiblelearning, and she’s made Paula and I think more about contemplating and articulating the reasons for each choice that we make. This year was no different. But this year, some unexpected changes in restrictions had us thinking even more about our why.

A look at our classroom space.

As we were working through COVID realities last year, Paula and I learned that some of the COVID restrictions actually helped support Self-Reg. The need for individual, front-facing seats, determined most of our room arrangement. You can only space that many desks out so much, and still have extra room for additional areas for kids. That said, we could make some choices, such as creating shelf spaces for a few students. Knowing our SK children from last year, helped us determine which kids might benefit the most from these small world spaces. Using these shelves, also gave us additional space for the desks to be better spread out, which we appreciate during the time of COVID and with the hope of giving children more room to create.

A reminder to ourselves that “playing together from a distance” is possible.

This year, we learned that kids can “share materials.” This has caused us to question our approach more. How do kids share materials and remain distanced? Paula and I also worried that with constantly evolving Public Health protocols, these rules might change. As educators that run a play-based kindergarten program in alignment with The Kindergarten Program Document, we know that success happens with routine. If we support children in using their own materials, but playing together from a distance, we can always add in sharing items if/when needed. But if we actively support sharing right away, what happens if we have to take it away? Will we then become more stringent COVID police, and what will that mean for kids and their success?

Throughout the week, we’ve been sharing our set-up process, but also our thoughts behind our decisions. What’s the thinking behind the choices that you made? Maybe if we each share our thinking, we’ll learn new options to consider. COVID might restrict some of our in-the-same-room conversations, but it doesn’t need to restrict our virtual ones. Imagine if we could all become a stronger virtual team, even in the midst of another unusual year. What might this mean for kids, for learning, and for our own professional growth and well-being?


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