Creating "Thinking Spaces"

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Kitchener_3 The following is an excerpt from Thinking Through Project-Based Learning: Guiding Deeper Inquiry by Jane Krauss and Suzie Boss. It was published this month by Corwin.

Take a moment and imagine a creative work environment. Don't worry about the kind of work going on. Just focus on the space. Close your eyes and picture it. What is that space like? What does it sound like? How are people interacting? Is there movement? Is there evidence of work in progress? Is it tidy, or busy-messy? Can you imagine working there?

Schools are our childrens' workspace as these authors state. While the article goes on to reveal ways a typical classroom can be modified to enhance PBL, at best this is a stop-gap measure -- while renovations needn't be expensive, it's far easier to do project-based learning in larger, more flexible spaces than a typical classroom. Removing walls to combine two classrooms is a better use of money than almost any other modification, as it provides more space to work. Using a garage-style door to open a learning space into a commons allows more room too. In the photo above, taken at Lord Kitchener School in Vancouver, a project group spreads out into the commons to work.

Here's a link to the article:

If you could remove a wall, what would you do in that larger space? Would you enjoy collaborating with the teacher there?

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