Creating Space for Learning

Creating Space for Learning
Posted on 01/05/2018
With the upcoming Community Open House for Building Our Future at Ide School on January 23, 2018, this week's blog is focused on how learning spaces are being rethought to create future ready learners.  

This week I'm sharing an article that describes why rethinking learning spaces is not limited to flexible furniture, but rather focused on how the school as a whole supports the students from the second they enter the building.  After reading the article, you may want to review my previous post about our current plans for renovations and construction at Ide School.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

Leading space design means thinking holistically about how the outside of the building, entryway, hallway, bathrooms, and teachers’ lounge all tell the non-verbal story of the school. Leaders also know that spaces, designed well, care for students and teachers. They protect them from outside stressors and allow the time and space needed for meaningful learning to happen.

Teachers as designers are thinking about space for collaboration, creation, and quiet. They also know that subtraction (with a $0 impact on the budget) can sometimes do more than adding furniture or flexible seating. Teacher designers also know that space design isn’t something that you finish or check off the list. It is a journey, a mindset, and part of the change path to better learning.

With our focus on designing our instructional practices to meet the needs of our students, District 66 teachers have been using flexible grouping practices and differentiation to create more learner-centered classrooms.  At Ide School, they have only been limited by the 1970's design of the school.  Thanks to the referendum passed by our supportive community last spring, that barrier is now being removed!

During our community presentations about the referendum last spring, we emphasized the need to redesign our learning spaces at both Ide School and Lakeview Jr. High to support the collaboration and flexibility for today's learners.  It is rewarding to see those presentations becoming reality for our students over the next two years!

The next four blogs will discuss the enGuage Framework for 21st Century Skills.  Check it out now for a preview!

Tim Arnold, Ph.D.