Friday, 27 May 2016

Day 169 - The Little Inquiry That Could!

Next week is June first. I can't believe it, but it is that time of year. June is a time for endings and beginnings, grief and excitement. For me, it is a time of reflection. A time to look back at the work we have done and the impact it has had. 

This year, nothing has given me more gratification than the transforming learning spaces inquiry. It has been a privilege to work with incredible educators who have pushed themselves out of their comfort zones to meet the learning needs of their students. This was a true inquiry, we didn't really know how it was going to go. We certainly had no idea the spread it would have. We started with a small group of teachers and it organically grew to touch schools in all areas of our Board. It has become a constant conversation and starting point for many other inquiries. Educators are seeing the connections between transforming their spaces and it's connection to STEAM, Inquiry and play based learning. When space is transformed so is the learning. We have heard from students and staff that changing the space has created an environment that has allowed students to make decisions. They need to think about the working space that works best for them. 

Moving to community space rather than individually held real estate has fostered collaboration, a sense of team and empathy.
Mrs. Sweeney's Door!
We are also seeing that having a variety of spaces is having an impact on movement. Students are moving and being active in their learning significantly more than they were with traditional desks and chairs. We know this is important, "Amazingly, the part of the brain that processes movement is the same part of the brain that processes learning" (Jensen, 2005) For more information on the movement/brain connection, check out this link; Teaching with the Brain in Mind, Eric Jensen. We are seeing students who are now motivated to come to school and engage in learning in ways they never have before. 

We have learned a great deal about the importance of physical space on student learning over the last few months but this is just the beginning. We are encouraged by what we are hearing from the participants of this inquiry. We have also been inspired by spaces in Private Industry. Tyger Shark digital media welcomed us into their thoughtfully considered space in downtown Barrie. They have designed their space to foster creativity and collaboration. Between their space and their message of, "we need people who are hungry to constantly learn" we felt inspired and affirmed in our work. 

This work is challenging and there are often more questions than answers but when I walk into a transformed space and feel the learning, I know it is worth it. 

This year, I feel like June is only a launching pad for the incredible learning and work to come. The little inquiry that could is no longer little and it will only continue to gain momentum. I couldn't be more proud to part of this team that is changing learning environments for the better.

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