“This is the key to time management – to see the value of every moment.”
-Menachem Mendel Schneerson
Often a top concern with educators, time is a precious commodity, one that we never feel we have quite enough of. Upon implementation of the flexible space model of the CoLab, one of my initial concerns was the limited time frame within which I meet certain classes. In my classes with younger students, I have only one to two sessions a week. Though I utilize multiple furniture formats in the classroom, students did not previously take part in moving the room into the positions necessary to begin class. I was too concerned with losing the precious few moments I have with my 4th and 5th graders. So, instead, I found myself moving furniture – often. The only class that I gave the responsibility to was my sixth grade group and even then, I preferred to use my prep time to ready the room.
When the group of CoLab educators at Hillel were tasked with creating a mini-experiment to generate data about how our classroom is working with the new model, I knew that I wanted to gather data on how long a CoLab takes to set up. My question for the experiment is, “Does age/grade level impact student ability to efficiently complete room set-up?”
It turns out that my fears of losing time were unfounded. After allowing students to take part in classroom set-up as I timed their work, I found out that, on average, students take less than two and a half minutes to set up the room in a way that benefits the lesson of the day! Another interesting bit of data that I learned is that older age groups do not necessarily complete the task more quickly. The fourth graders who set up their classroom took less than a minute on average to set up the room. In contrast, the fifth graders took an average of two minutes and one second to set up the room, while the sixth grade was slower, with an average of two minutes and seventeen seconds. As we move forward this year, I will continue to collect data on how quickly each group is able to turn the CoLab space into their own.
From this point forward, I intend to also keep track of the data for each month to see if students are able to sustain their average class time for set-up or even improve them. I am finding that younger students are thrilled to know that they are on par with older students and that it spurs them on to become even more efficient in the way that they work together to move the furniture
As they work to set up the room, students are being primed for taking more ownership of their learning. They have a responsibility to create the environment we can best move forward in for the lesson of the day. Not only are they taking ownership, they are also communicating with each other to quickly put the room in order and work as a team to accomplish their goal. So, while it may seem that the two minutes are not directly related to the lesson, these crucial life skills are a part of the learning process as well. Students are moving away from passive learning styles into more active engagement with the learning process.
Students work together to reassemble the room to suit our needs.
Once the room is assembled, students can work without distractions in their small groups.