Learning spaces…they’re everywhere!

Just one learning space…no way! Our learners have many different spaces to learn in, many of which definitely aren’t confined by four walls and a ceiling. Although I have to admit that my excitement at spending 2 hours in the gym so far this year has been a little over the top…WE HAVE A GYM!!! It was so amazing to sit and just observe these year 11 students who had been without such a space for 14 months- I’m not sure who was more excited!File_000

We also get to spend a lot of time outside and I absolutely love the view from our fields. You can’t beat it…except in a southerly!IMG_4463.JPG

The other indoor space we use, like many is your standard cell style classroom. It’s safe to say this room is not the nicest classroom in the world but it’s definitely not the worst either. It’s not super modern or anything like that but it doesn’t leak and that’s a pretty big deal for many of our buildings. I decided early on in the Summer holidays that I was going to attempt to make the space look like a place of learning; a place where students felt welcome, connected and supported.

To some, it may appear visually overwhelming and the walls may look too busy. But the feedback from our students has been positive- they’ve enjoyed seeing pictures of themselves  Out & About on different EOTC experiences, the whiteboard adhesive has been a great way to generate ideas collaboratively and the resources on the wall have been very helpful so far in PE Outdoors. We’ve set up wonderwalls, #oneword2016 and many of the displays around the room are designed to get students asking deeper questions. The room also has no set direction and this has been especially helpful in promoting discussion or quickly setting up a talking donuts. The last thing I wanted to make sure of was that there was no teachers desk- I just don’t see the point in them.

One of the coolest things about my job compared to other teachers in our school is getting to take our young people offsite for PE Outdoors. We have two senior courses that use an outdoors based context while assessing PE achievement standards hence the name PE Outdoors. For these groups, the offsite experiences leave them with lasting memories, friendships and deeper knowledge and understanding of the area that they call home. I get the opportunity to learn so much more about these groups when we leave the school grounds- as hard as the organisation can sometimes be, it’s definitely worth it. Our classroom has no walls- we go wherever the edventure is…


Last of all is one of my favourite personal learning spaces. A place where I feel at home, connected and relaxed. It’s my happy place and always will be.

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About Jo Smith

Health & PE teacher and TIC Outdoor Education at Aotea College.
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2 Responses to Learning spaces…they’re everywhere!

  1. celiafleck says:

    Cool post 🙂 Love the way you have celebrated the different learning spaces. And you undersell the amount of work you have done to turn that classroom into a welcoming, vibrant learning space! I hope you have the other staff trained to look after it for you. Ka mau te pai.


    • Jo Smith says:

      Thanks. Learning definitely isn’t confined to a single space so I felt I had to address that. Yeah, it took a bit of work but it has been worth it to hear the feedback. Wonderwall is now in full swing!


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