Academics
Upper School

ESA's Interactive Classroom

Dr. Delecia Carey, English Department Chair

The white cube allows us to draw our students into the vital work of constructing meaning through writing. Each day the walls will be covered in their words, words they have written, words they need to explain and defend.
Peek into Room 217 on the Cade campus and you might be surprised at how sparse the space looks. The crisp while walls are free of posters or shelves. Only twenty blue chairs and a mobile teacher lectern fill the room. But far from being an empty space, ESA’s new Interactive Classroom provides a blank canvas for a wide range of learning opportunities.  

The walls have been painted from floor to ceiling with a special paint that turns them into white boards. The chairs sport wheels, and both the seats and the desktops swivel in multiple directions. Two projectors (one attached to a Smart Board) give teachers the ability to project on separate walls so groups of students can work simultaneously. The entire classroom – Dr. Carey’s white cube - is designed to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the classes that meet there.

“When we don’t let our students move enough,” says Dr. Carey, “their brains detach. If you’re not moving, your brain’s going to fall asleep.” So the interactive classroom provides plenty of space to move around while working.

Along with keeping students moving, says Dr. Carey, the space facilitates cooperative learning. As students progress through high school and college and enter the workplace, they need to know how to work with other people. The interactive classroom set-up makes cooperative learning easier as students can form and change groups quickly and easily. Chairs can be rolled into corners for groups to meet, pulled into a circle for a discussion or pushed against the walls so the students can work on the floor.
Students in Dr. Carey’s freshman English classes often begin class on their feet. She provides a sentence about the material they are studying, but one that demonstrates the grammatical problems they have discussed. Each student claims a bit of wall space and works to rewrite the sentence. With the work visible, Dr. Carey can give immediate one-on-one feedback.
With paragraphs from their essays projected on the walls, students can revise and improve their work with the help of their classmates. And they've already used the room for review. Students worked in groups, with each group taking one of the concepts studied and brainstorming ideas and quotes from the text. Then each group presented for the others. Students used their devices to photograph the information on the walls so they would have it to study for the test.

Dr. Carey also wants the classroom to be available for other faculty to use when her classes aren’t meeting. At ESA, students often take an active role in learning, but within traditional classrooms, movement is constrained by desks that aren’t meant to move, limited white board space and often, bookshelves and tables. Having a more flexible space removes those barriers. Already, Dr. Huffman’s Algebra II students (top) have demonstrated that Room 217 provides just as many advantages for cooperative learning in math as it does in English.  

Episcopal School of Acadiana

Episcopal School of Acadiana is a private coeducational day school for students in grades PK3 through 12. Our mission is to instill in every student the habits of scholarship and honor.
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