Today we started the overall design for our new classroom. Referring to our previous brainstorms and lists about what we want to keep/change/develop in our environment, the class gathered around in a circle as I led the discussion. I drew the floor plan while I talked, gesticulating enthusiastically, getting up to pace out measurements, asking questions and generating discussion like a good teacher should, vaguely aware, and (shamefully) not really caring, that I was completely dominating the whole thing.
When one, particularly confident, child got up to demonstrate his opinion on my plan, the class shuffled in a little to see. He enthusiastically showed us his way of shifting our mat space so that the sun wouldn't shine in their eyes in the mornings. The class shuffled in a little more as he got more excited and started to share more ideas, this time about independent learning areas, asking questions of the class and pacing around, gesticulating as I had been. The rest of the class responded and, somewhat bemused, I was gradually squeezed out of the group to become a happy observer. It was great to watch!
After a few minutes the class noticed someone was missing and all just stopped. They looked at me for a moment while I just smiled back. My replacement said: "Oh my god, I totally just took over what you were doing. Sorry!" The class giggled as he threw my pen back to me. I wouldn't hear of it, of course, and passed it straight back.
Kids taking charge of their own learning.
I knew I already had the buy in. Today was the evidence.
Here's our final plan: