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New flexible learning spaces at HHS

August 22, 2018

Various+stools+and+chairs+at+HHS.+Classrooms+are+trying+to+have+more+flexible+learning+spaces+this+upcoming+school+year.
Various stools and chairs at HHS. Classrooms are trying to have more flexible learning spaces this upcoming school year.

Various stools and chairs at HHS. Classrooms are trying to have more flexible learning spaces this upcoming school year.

Ati Hernke

Ati Hernke

Various stools and chairs at HHS. Classrooms are trying to have more flexible learning spaces this upcoming school year.

The idea of creating flexible learning spaces first started in elementary schools, where students have to sit in desks for a full day. Students tend to learn better in classrooms where there is less structured furniture and the ability learn to collaborate with fellow students.

HHS is working on implementing new flexible learning spaces in a few classrooms to see if it will benefit their students and create the most beneficial learning environment for students.  

Recently after the referendum passed, changes have been discussed and HHS staff have brainstormed ideas about how to better utilize the space. This includes taking out lockers and moving around classrooms so the spaces are used to their full potential.

“We are using the referendum dollars to change common spaces, hallways, resource areas and areas like that to update those,” said Doug Bullinger, principal. “With the common spaces, it’s not about building common spaces because they are already being used, so it’s a matter of making them more comfortable for students.”

One new idea that is being tried out is changing the dynamic of classrooms to create an environment that works the best for students.

“We are working on taking away the front of a class and creating a space that lets the teacher move around and students have more flexible space. Right now, the typical classroom is 65 percent student space and 35 percent teacher space,” said David Williams, language arts.

Designing the new spaces does not just involve rearranging furniture. Over the summer, HHS reevaluated the spaces and how rooms could be used to their full potential.

One idea included taking out walls in order to add more classrooms rather than leaving some of the areas as walk through spaces. The rooms that were recently implemented have been used much more frequently than in the past.

“You read more and more the best learning is collaborative learning, and collaborative problem solving. So having kids working more in groups, you see more and more of that,” Bullinger said. “Some of the furniture and layouts we have right now just don’t lend themselves to do that.”

In the future, students will have the opportunity to experience the benefits of the new classrooms and unique learning structures. Students will no longer be confined to their desks for the entire class-period.

According to Bullinger, it’s not so much about what HHS is planning furniture or tech wise, rather how to better use the spaces so students are more easily paired or grouped together.

 

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