Shared Spaces

By Jason Ablin, Principal

The purpose of this blog is to engage students, educators, and community members in a thoughtful dialogue regarding how we can best use space to improve student learning and strive for excellence. With the creation of the two Co-Lab (Collaborative Laboratory) classrooms, Hillel has embarked on a long-term discussion about meeting student needs literally from the ground up.

These spaces, one for Middle School Humanities and one for 4th through 6th grade Science, were designed to incorporate certain core principles that underlie more traditional classrooms.

  1. Students are capable of discovering how the manipulation of space provides opportunities for self-definition as a learner.
  2. Mobility and open models of configuration lend themselves to students’ understanding the benefits of cooperative and collaborative learning.
  3. Teachers have more options for connecting students to their own learning when space becomes another set of tools in their professional tool box, instead of having to lean on a more rigid set of fait accomplis established by the traditional classroom setting.

This blog and its diverse media – writing, photographs, and video – represent various types of informed storytelling which help us understand the experiences of learners and educators working in these spaces. This blog acts as a record of anecdotal evidence that will aid us in sorting out effective practices that produce real outcomes.

As we become more thoughtful and systematic in our approaches, more data-driven evidence will supplement our professional deliberations over time. Our highest priorities remain improving practice and the overall educational experiences for our students.


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