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Learning Space: Room 13

Back to School at ACPA: (Might there be a more boring way to announce the reinvigoration of our learning space in Room 13? Probably. And yet the phrase leaves me listless. Could be that I’m at an age where redundancies and repetition call up the yawn.)

How about:
Back to the Unveiling of Our Life’s Task.

Pretentious? Wordy? High-falutin? Maybe. Yeah, probably. Seems to get more to the point, though.

So I snapped the “Featured Image” for this post from my desk as I await students in less than twenty hours…nineteen hours fifty-nine minutes forty seconds…(I’m sure I’ll be ready, right?!).

I like my green wall.
It’s a pleasant color, always one of my favorites. I still recall–with horror–the year I spent in a gray painted room with no windows two years back (if there was ever a personal research study on environment and the link to being bummed, that year was it).

You cannot see the window in the photograph of my current classroom, but it’s there, next to me, allowing me to stare out to day dream when a spare moment becomes the gift of working ahead. Green trees, blue skies, and white clouds can cure quite a bit, you know. I chose the desks for the photograph, however, because the young adults that will sit in those seats are my raison d’être this as in all years teaching. Not teaching though, not anymore: I facilitate educational opportunities–I’m a facilitator. That’s more accurate. Together the teacher, the teaching, and the pupil’s effort make the taught. All I can really do is allow space for students to take steps to self-actualization via our curriculum. And motivate them along the way. Try to spark their own decision to strengthen their intrinsic motivation to grow, build, add, and refine what it is to be.

The longer I stare at the photo the more I would like to exchange tables and chairs for a variety of seating arrangements student could choose from based on their mood: beanbag chairs, standing desks, a few standard student desks, a table, a bar stool or two, and maybe even a couch or recliner. I suppose this speaks to something we all endeavor for to some degree or another: personalization of the learning process. This is a great site on the subject:

My eyes also steer themselves inexorably to the green-yellow-orange-purple water color painting on the side of my podium. The masterpiece was created by my three year old son Trilby over the summer. Hanging up his artwork gives us both considerable joy. He is the reminder to persevere despite any mundane professional struggle. [Sidebar: If you ever are stuck on a place to hang up children’s artwork, try the garage wall–those walls are typically ugly anyway and a few tack marks won’t obliterate your home’s resale value, the imaginary realtor side of me assures you.]

Staring still further leaves me laughing at the old raggedy posters lining my walls, some of which have been with me since my first year of teaching. It’s probably time to find some new ones, but unlike a public school teacher friend of mine who receives a crisp Benjamin Franklin each year for supplies, I have to acquire my own. Since I teach at an arts school I’ll likely just collect more student samples and works of art to line the walls than I have in previous years. It’s nice to display student work in our learning space; it gives them some ownership of the space. It is our classroom, after all, and not just mine. Shared Community > Teacher Dictatorship.

I wonder if I could find a grant to get one of these built to and from Room 13’s classroom space? It’s tough not to smile shooting down a slide.



  1. Hi Aaron! Slides in a classroom… One can only dream! This post reminds me of conversations you and I have had about the value of mindful play.

    Here is a post about a practice, “Why Not” I started with a friend of mine. Might be fun to try yourself or even with students.

    I would love to hear how you incorporate play into practices with students throughout the year!


  2. Tried some mindful meditation and mindful walking with the students today. They relished the opportunity and more students than previous years had already heard of the concept. I will try to make room for this activity during our end of the week block days.


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