Saturday, December 23, 2017

Something to Try #MTBoS12Days

As a kid, I loved puzzles.  As an adult, I don't have as much time for these things, but I still love Sudoku and other logical games.  My Geometry students have really shown interest in puzzles that challenge their thinking, and I really want to capitalize on this to help their logical thinking.

Something You Want to Try in Your Classroom

Last summer, I read a post on Sara Vanderwref's blog entitled "You need a Play Table in Your Math Classroom".  I thought the idea was fascinating.  Then, Sarah Carter started posting about putting out a weekly puzzle on her play table.  And again, I was fascinated with the idea!

Over the past few weeks, I've been pondering how I could incorporate these into my classroom.  I have various puzzles that I've collected over the years plus all of the printable resources that Sarah C has provided and other ones I've found online (such as this one), but I'm really stuck on the logistics.

The biggest issue I'm running into is where to even put a play table.  Here's a picture of my classroom from last year from my desk area.  I have a couple of options, none of which are appealing to me...

Option 1:  On the right side of the picture, around where you can see the sun glare, is an alcove that houses a file cabinet and my student aide desk.  The file cabinet is the right size / height, but the alcove can only hold a couple of people, which really limits the idea of play.  I'm also semi-worried about pieces falling behind the file cabinet and being lost forever or being vacuumed up by the cleaning crew.  However, this option is the easiest to implement as it doesn't require any additional furniture acquisition. :)

Option 2:  On the wall behind me is a bank of windows with a countertop running the span of the classroom.  This allows for more people, but I use the countertop a LOT while prepping table folders each morning, etc.  I don't want to constantly move things and I'm afraid it would annoy me to have a mess on the countertop every day.

Option 3:  Along the front of the room is the Promethean board and two large whiteboards.  I could put a table or desk along the front but that does reduce the space available to move around as well as restricting access to the whiteboards which is counterproductive to my goal of VNPS.

Option 4:  Right outside my classroom door is an alcove from the hallway.  I could put a desk out there as the play table.  This has some benefit of getting students other than my own involved, but runs the risk of pieces going missing.  I've been thinking about putting something outside my classroom since I read Sara Vanderwref's post about her hallway experiment

Option 5:  Going vertical is a possibility since the whiteboards in my room are magnetic or I could put up something in the hallway alcove (large baking pan?).  This would work well for the printable puzzles, but I don't know how it would work if you needed to flip a piece over. Would you have to put a magnet on each side?  (Plus, putting magnets on the pieces increases their bulk so they are more difficult to store).  If I went vertical, I would probably put it in the hallway to reduce the distraction factor during class, however, it would be a better way to draw attention to the weekly puzzle. 

UGH - So many options... so many things to think about it!

If you have a play table, how do you manage it?  What are the logistics I'm missing?

No comments: