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Re: Kids are great & open rooms without boxes

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From: Sharon Henneborn (heneborn_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Mar 06 2005 - 15:36:11 PST


My dream too. I taught in the first district in NJ to use open space.
One K-5 building I taught in was designed so that the 4 huge art and
science rooms were in a separate wing. They had solid walls about
2/3rds the distance between these rooms which left large openings on
either end of those walls. Acoustics were planned to soak up the noise
but the teacher could still be heard easily across the room. They were
designed so that they could be used for art or science mix and match.
In the corner of each room was a screen, TV, bulletin board and chalk
board. There was a thick carpet in that corner for sitting and intimate
discussion. The tables & sinks & cabinets for supplies & studio work
were in the rest of the room. The 4th wall was open for a hallway for
moving from one of the rooms to another and the storage rooms and
restrooms doors were visible across that open hall space. Teaming was
great but rigid districts have problems with scheduling things that are
not in a box!

Eventually we got administrators who wanted schedules in all the
elementary schools to match. Walls started going up all over the
district. Scheduling on a spreadsheet became more important than the
learning experience! I used to refer to that kind of leadership as "It
is good if it looks good on an overhead!" Your architects are too used
to boxes!

You will find a way but it would have been easier if the rooms were
open to each other.

Enjoy the new facility ;<)
Sharon ~ Retired in NJ

> Patty
> p.s. Actually my original design was that the rooms had interior
> access to each other. I wanted "art centers", so that each teacher's
> strengths could be utilized and we would team teach. i.e my strength
> is drawing and painting and photo, my colleague is great with
> printmaking and ceramics, another is a wiz with crafts. I wanted it to
> be that kids could go from strength to strength, no matter who the
> teacher was. The architects didn't see it my way. As a department we
> all cooperate with each other and if i have a kid who wants to do the
> printmaking project the other teacher is doing we find a way . Centers
> of learning will always be my ideal art department. I have a few AP
> kids taking metals classes in the industrial arts department and we
> find a way for the work to count for both. Someday maybe all will see
> that schools are cooperative communities and not little boxes.

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