Click or tap to enlarge photos
LHRIC's model classroom hosts Special Services educators
Special Services teams explore, strategize for new active learning spaces
Administrators, Teachers, and TAs from sites across Southern Westchester BOCES' Center for Special Services are exploring active learning principles and how they can best be implemented to engage students and foster new learning opportunities.
The teams came together for an introductory program this week at the Model Schools’ Active Learning Center in Harrison. The “classroom of the future” is a model active learning classroom created by the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center.
The Center for Special Services will be equipping nine sites with state of the art active learning centers this school year.
A facilitator invited participants to share what they knew about the new initiative and questions or concerns they had. Some talked about how students might react and how incorporating active learning approaches would affect instruction. The group also discussed planning active learning spaces and exploring resources in learning environment, instruction, and technology.
Activities allowed staff to practice using the furniture to accommodate learning activities and to consider how transitions can be introduced and modeled with students. Mock-ups detailed the planned classroom furniture for the center’s three sites, and hands-on activities allowed staff to create varied classroom setups.
Staff were encouraged to consider planning a home set-up and other configurations to introduce and practice with students.
Rye Lake Middle/High School Principal Scott Kaufman said the program allowed participants to broaden their understanding on how to teach within a 21st century classroom design. Four of the new active learning centers will be at the Rye Lake campus.
“Our districts deserve the best, so we have the responsibility of staying ahead of the curve in our classroom design and teaching approach” Principal Kaufman said.
Kaufman, one of the program participants, said the interactive lessons, thought-provoking discussions, and classroom games demonstrated authentic application of the learning space. Each activity was aimed at helping teachers build their knowledge and illuminate the possible applications of the new furniture.
Middle School Teacher Doreen Sheldon, one of the select group of educators who took part in the training, agreed.
“It showed me that I need to switch up my thinking of how to deliver instruction,” said Sheldon. “I think once I get a handle on it, it will be great. It will help teach the kids how to collaborate which is a life skill."
The day ended with a wrap-up in which staff chose an item from a box and used it to reflect on the training.
One staff member chose a key and shared that they thought this training was the key to unlocking exciting new learning experiences for her and her students.
“This was a wonderful start to the cohort and everyone seemed glad to know that there would be ongoing support and training during the year,” said Jessica Walker, Principal for CSS programs at the Pocantico Hills School.