This sounds like an exciting, self motivating place to be. How did you evolve your classroom? ( I am assuming that upon your arrival it was more traditional than what you describe below). One of my goals this year is to give the students more independence in the classroom - less reliance upon me. First steps include showing the kids where to find paintbrushes and other supplies, how to care for and clean them, but not actually pass them out . I am also attempting, wherever possible to either open up subject matter or materials, so each student has the opportunity for a more individual response to the assignment. It's easy to slip back into old patterns, tho.
How do you lay out curriculum for your students?
Regarding classroom metaphors: this is not my own, but a good friend and colleague once compared my choice based classroom to the large and busy South Station in Boston. People are constantly in motion, people are getting information from various sources, people are coming from a variety of places and heading in a great variety of directions. When one looks across the room it may seem a bit confusing, but each rail commuter has a destination and knows where to get the required information and ticket to get there. It is great to read discussion threads which concern more that lesson plans.
http://knowledgeloom.org/tab http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TAB-ChoiceArtEd/ http://tabchoiceteaching.blogspot.com/ ---