4 ways we designed collaborative learning spaces

When we built a new 3-story high school building on our former baseball field, we knew that we wanted to incorporate spaces where students could learn and teachers could teach in a very collaborative manner.

So, along with our new classrooms, in most areas of our school there are now two hallways with resource classrooms running down the center. Those are our collaborative spaces, and they’re where we got to be creative in terms of planning and design.

We didn’t want to just order 200 of the same chairs and hope for the best, so we worked with MiEN to select furniture designs and other elements that would best define and complement our new collaborative spaces. Here are four other steps we took to achieve our vision:…Read More

5 digital tools to enhance your social studies instruction

Over the span of my 22-year career as South Carolina public school educator, I’ve taught in self-contained classrooms and I’ve been in departmentalized settings.  Although I love teaching all subjects, I always choose English/language arts and social studies, in part because I love the challenge of engaging young leaners in these important subjects.

As a fourth-grade English/language arts and social studies teacher in an elementary collaborative learning magnet program–which is also a NASA Explorer School–I get the challenge of unlocking the minds of 9- and 10-year-olds who are more at home in the STEM subjects than in exploring literature or our country’s history.

In my quest to engage my students in social studies, I’ve found that, after a few rounds of trial and error, the social studies textbooks belong on the shelf. Instead, I’ve turned to a host of exciting digital resources that would engage the students and connect their lessons to the “real world”, enhance my delivery of instruction, and expand students’ knowledge of our country’s history.…Read More