Try as I may, I can’t seem to get the “Reblog a Post” to work.  So I guess a few words will have to do. Chip Houston just posted a great piece, “My” Classroom Space Configuration 2006-2010″ A Must read before reading below.

I appreciate the nod Chip gives to me in terms of asking him a question about his space design when he taught AP History.  I am going to try to give a little backstory so as to set Chip up for the post he just wrote and for his part two of the series.

Last week, I posted, “The Question to Keep Asking…”

If I recall when I first started out teaching this was not the question I would ask myself.  I would ask, “How can I deliver the content in a timely, effective way to get the job done?” (obviously the answer did not consider the true User(s), just the designer).  A few years down the road, my lens shifted and so did my question. When asked this question, “What experiences do you want for your students?” My answer was and is today, “I want my students to be curious, seeking, exploring, discovering, & uncovering the world around them. I want them to get messy building and creating their learning. I want them to have meaningful learning moments every day.”

For the last 15 months, I have been involved in the Atlanta K12 Design Challenge with Chip Houston, Jim Tiffin, Alex Bragg, and Katie Cain. Here are some previous posts I have written related to this challenge.

When the the question by David Jakes was posted, “What experiences do you want for your students?” I thought maybe this would be great opener to some needfinding with my teammates as well as connecting to Moments of Visible Empathy with our Users (teachers & students). The following images are sharpie sketches of Chip’s classroom setup from the past (he redrew it with Google Draw in his post) and the second sketch is what he would do if he had a classroom again to tinker with.  I intentionally used the word “tinker” because a space should never be set in stone (unless you teach stones of course) because your Users are in a constant state of flux and learning demands interactive and flexible spaces (movement too).

So the question was posed. And Chip expressed a great desire for his students to learn from primary sources, have as much direct contact to history as he could give them.  He was not interested in a watered down version of the Magna Carta or the retelling of a story from another story.  The more he could hand them the primary source, the closer his students would get to actual history.  Then I asked Chip to sketch out what his space looked like way back when…. and he shared in great detail specs, design, purpose, and postures this space allowed for him to teach… I asked Chip if these are the same experiences he would want his students to have today?  Chip said yes, and… more creating, more doing, more movement… I asked Chip to sketch out what he would do with his space if he could do it differently… I asked him why the difference?  Why would the setup be different… How does he know to make it different?

The answers guide the Flexible Learning Spaces…  and I am sure Chip will share answers to these questions plus more in his Part 2 of “My” Classroom Space Configuration 2006-2010″