The greatest outcomes that I achieve in my room are realized through challenging myself in an oftentimes extreme way. Past challenges include...
1. Never lecturing
2. Stop using paper
3. Move your desk to the back/middle of the room
What these have all done is forced me to think in a different way. They are a risk, and while most educators are risk averse, I will take every risk that I feel can benefit my students, my classroom, or my teaching style.
So I'm beginning this year with a challenge that hopefully improves a cooperative learning environment that I have maintained for the past 5 years. I want to turn up the volume on generating a small-scale crowdsourcing classroom.
I'm going to challenge myself to allow my students to sit wherever they wish...every day. I'm doing this because I want to create more opportunities where I facilitate creation of different student groups many times within one classroom.
Ideally I will accomplish this by having my students walk in, sit wherever you like, in 5 minutes you'll be grouping with people that are learning what you are learning. When that activity is done, you'll be in another group/partnership with a student you've NEVER worked with before. Let's hope this model creates an environment where every student is comfortable having a conversation and learning with every other student in the class.
Classroom management enthusiasts(is there such a thing?) are cringing now telling me that I won't be able to maintain order in my classroom. Good, I don't like order. Neither do high school students. I guess students will need to be working on some pretty engaging activities that keep their interest in order to keep those management enthusiasts at bay.
Yours in organizing chaos for the sake of cooperative learning.
P.S. I've already thought of another challenge I want to embark on...not referring to students in my classroom as "my students".