Like most teacher the very last weeks of June are full of chaos, confusion, and cleaning a room. For a change I’m not having to pack up and move my room — which is fabulous! However, it’s tricky too. Do I strip the walls and start fresh? Do I keep what I have and relax for the first summer? Or, do I sit back, consider all of what worked and what didn’t and tweak what needs it.
As I surf Pinterest for classroom ideas for next year (yes I know this year isn’t even finished yet….) I’m stunned again by the utter lack of resources for middle school. There is plenty for primary and junior classes but little that appeals to the teen-age crowd. A few years ago I realized this and wrote a short e-book on setting up a middle-school room for the first time, which was a truly amazing process. But here I am again, wondering how I can best represent the interests of my students and still create an environment that works for me.
When I was presenting a seminar at a conference last year, I was treated to working out of a secondary English classroom. The walls were covered with quotes, and a map of the world from Lord of the Rings… and a table full of coffee cups and a tea pot. Yup, this was a class that had coffee — and tea — IN class.
The idea struck me as inclusive and cozy, and I”m determined to blend this idea into my room for next year. Turning one corner into a cafe shouldn’t be too hard: cups, tea pot, caffeine free teas, maybe some hot chocolate…. comfy seating and a place to collaborate. As long as I can clear enough counter space it should work out fine.
But the rest of the room is limited by the complete and utter lack of power. I have 3 outlets for the room. That’s it. Three. Given that we run BYOD, ipads, ipod minis, and chromebooks, the lights dim a bit any time we start a task. To top it off, with no air conditioning in the building we need power for fans — or else we melt.
Running power bars everywhere makes the floor look like an amateur set from TRON == the original, not the re-make. I can’t poach power from next door, as they are in the same boat. Perhaps I can hook a bike up to a generator and create my own power run by a student with too much energy… hmm… which one to choose….
Seriously though, if our agin infrastructure is not able to support the needs of even basic technology, at what point do we get to throw our hands up and ask for more. a 200$ budget only goes so far, and while I know that times are tight, we really don’t have what we need to teach.
Time for a bake sale…