I was so excited to unveil my coffeehouse class to my students. Would they enjoy it? Would it benefit their learning? Would the stuff I built stand up for the whole week?
All along, I had a sort of rubric in the back of my mind, a measurement to know if things worked or didn't. Here is how week one went:
Design = Relationship
This part was the most obvious. I would set the room up in such a way as to make it easier to build relationships with students. The seating, the lighting, and the music in the background all contribute to an atmosphere that is relaxed. Students instantly responded with positivity. I also had a suggestion box for ways we could improve the class, and I implemented those suggestions right away to demonstrate that I hear their concerns and will move to address them. This helps to build trust.
The success of this area was evident by having about seven current students bring their friends to look at the room and another four or five former students come to hang out before and after school. There is still lots of room to grow, but we are off to a great start.
The classroom redesign was never just about flexible seating and low lights. That's just aesthetics. No, this was about a culture shift. I wanted students to take ownership of their learning. Coffee Talk- our student facilitated bell work discussion does that. Of my five classes, three of them performed well above expectations. The student facilitators had great poise and thoughtful questions, and they managed the flow incredibly well. The other two did very well, and with a bit more time I think they will own their learning well. The second area is in the Perfect World project my sociology classes are doing. At the close of classes, they get a little bit of "genius hour" to plan their projects. They have a poster board map that is laminated, and they lay out their settlements, determine their resources and beginning thinking how their society will associate with the other three in the class. I've been inconsistent in getting them enough time, and right now I give a good deal of direction, but these are easily fixed issues.
I really want to incorporate social media in my class. Daily hashtags were the first step, but so far, no students have used them. Time will tell.
I also plan plan to use You Tube Live to stream lectures for the students who miss class, and I'm using Air Server, but my room has terrible wi-fi. I've requested a wi-fi boost, hopefully that will help.
Goals are an important part of education. Having my students write class goals on the paper wall ended up being a beautiful thing- aesthetically and philosophically. The personal goals on the Starbucks cups went well too.
The class is off to a great start. The relationships and student lead portions are As, but the tech side did not go as well as hoped. I'm giving it a C. Goals were a solid A. Overall, I think week one is a solid B+.