My dyad placement is at a Middle School that has folding walls between classrooms. Today, I had the opportunity to see some pros and cons of this design firsthand. Let me start by saying that the wall separating the room I’m in from one of the adjacent rooms is open on occasion to allow for team teaching and large group presentations. The majority of the time the wall is closed, or open during planning periods. One of the major downsides is that the noise from two other classrooms easily carries into ours. This afternoon, right as class was starting, it was discovered that the wall wouldn’t close. It was stuck. The room was even louder than normal and it was tough for the kids to focus. My Cooperating Teacher tried to make it work, but eventually decided to call in help. The wall did end up getting fixed, but not before a big chunk of class time had gone by.
The very next period, I got to see some of the pros of these moveable walls. I observed a math class where the teachers team teach full-time and the wall is always open. This math class is also Flipped; the students watch instructional videos for homework and do their work in class. The teachers in this class utilized “clickers” (classroom/student response systems) that allowed them to see where students had errors in their work or whether or not they had started. One of the teachers used her ipad so she could monitor student answers as she circulated the room. I know that flipped classes have their pros and cons, but it was exciting to see teachers committed to collaboration and committed to using technology to enhance student learning and assessment.