A few weeks ago, I was at a conference, and was sort of tangentially a part of a conversation about how to make classrooms more...conducive to studying. At the center of this conversation was George Couros, and all around him were administrators from my campus and a couple other CSISD folks. I happened upon them just looking for a group to go to lunch with.
Couros commented that when students want to study, they do not go to a classroom, they go to a coffeehouse. He suggested that there might be something there. I immediately looked at my Principal, Tiffany Parkerson, and she looked at me: I am moving to a new room this fall, and this was a perfect opportunity for me to experiment.
For the last few weeks, I have been brainstorming. I do not just want my room to look like a coffeehouse, I want it to feel, and smell, and yes, work like one. I want to have objects that say "Mmmm, coffee," but still inspire my students to think, "Mmmm, Ivan Pavlov was all about Classical Conditioning." But I do not have a lot of money. Or time.
I do have a lot of scrap wood and cardboard, and a request for no desks in the classroom- only tables and chairs. I am kinda handy. So, I decided to set a budget, clear out the garage, and start doing some research time at local coffee houses. The idea I began with today is actually two things: A free-standing poster hanger to display class "Flavor of the Months"- key topics in my class that will pop up periodically; and a supply rack that will hold scratch paper, markers, colored pencils, etc. I had the stuff to make all this, mostly, already at home, including some leftover spray paint. Just not quite enough.
So, yeah, it is a work in progress. At the end of this endeavor, my goal is to try something new, and hopefully engage students in a meaningful way. Looking forward to some creative moments, and I plan to share progress and stories here from time to time.
And keep a running tally of my costs, because, you know, its a challenge.
Cost so far: $0 and about 2 hours.
I teach Psychology, Sociology, Communication Applications and Debate at College Station High School, as well as coach the debate team and co-sponsor Student Council. I am an aspiring administrator.