Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Innovation Site is (finally) Public!

I am happy, proud, and slightly exhausted to say that the site I've been working on can now be viewed by everyone in the internet universe. 

It can be found here.

I have visited classrooms around my district looking for interesting things that are going on in an effort to share and spread innovation.  It's been a wonderful, wonderful experience.  Teachers have been gracious in letting me in their classrooms, but humble about what they do.  When they get talking though, they get this gleam in their eyes because they are talking about something they are passionate about.  It is very inspiring.

The new public site is in blog format, whereas the in-district site was more like a collection of themed magazines.  I liked the themes and magazine style because I could add an editorial comment at the top about the collection of ideas.  We switched to blog format for ease of management, but viewers can still group the stories into themes by clicking the categories on the left of the page. 

Please stop by the site if you have a moment and browse through some of the ideas. 

The thing that is special to me about the ideas is that most of them came from individual teachers who were trying to do things differently (not national initiatives, not big budget programs, etc.).  Most ideas originated because teachers were bothered by something and they wanted to fix it.  Or they heard of something similar happening somewhere else, and they thought, "What would it look like if I tried that here?"  Even if they adopted someone else's ideas, they made them wholly their own.  I like that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lighting Is Everything

If you want to make a quick, dramatic change to your room, start with lighting. 

I don’t know about your classroom, but my classroom has these bright fluorescent fixtures that suck the life out of you.  I try to keep them off as much as possible.  I don’t get enough natural light from my north-facing windows, so I augment with some spot lighting.  The area lighting also creates some interesting zones. 

The 4 overhead hanging lights create intimate areas for small groups.  light 3

The floor lamps create a spot to cozy up in the comfy padded chair with a book and a buddy.


A couple of desk lamps along the walls make for nice private areas for solo work.


light 2


Mr. S

My buddy next door, Mr. S teaches grade 4/5.  He has been experimenting with lighting effects too.  Check it out.

An arm lamp at the back by the sink creates a great, flexible workspace.


The floor lamp defines the mood of the carpeted reading area.


A couple of clamp lamps become instant wall sconces.



If you can’t change the wall positions or even the wall colours, lighting is an easier alternative.