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Multi room MLE - the possibilities?

Started by Chris Meehan 10 Feb 2015 10:07pm () Replies (10)

Kia ora  - I am really interested to know if there are any primary schools (in particular) which have two or three classes that might have graduated to working collaboratively, but across classrooms which are not actually connected to each other physically in any way. If there are any examples of this in Canterbury we would be most interested to see how you have tackled this. 

For anyone who has done this our key questions would probably be:

1. Once you decided to collaborate 2-3 teachers across 2-3 rooms, did you start working the students together for small snippets of time, or just get in there holus bolus?

2. How did you get children to work effectively moving from room to room, and in fact, to move effectively from room to room?

3. Do you have certain things happening in specific rooms?

4. Any difficulties with furniture etc?

Basically, if anyone has done this, I would be really grateful for any feedback and/or ideas about the implementation.




  • Jacinda Panther (View all users posts) 10 Feb 2015 10:21pm ()

    Following this. We (2 out of 3 classes in our syndicate) are moving into a shared space later this year. Very keen to know how people are managing when one of the collaborative spaces isn't physically linked. We are planning to work together term 1 and 2 in preparation for the shared space but would love to hear how others are doing it.


  • Shanna (View all users posts) 11 Feb 2015 7:02am ()


    I work in a NE/Y1/Y2 syndicate that has embraced collaborative learning spaces while only have two adjoined rooms and one separate room. We have worked in this team situation since February 2014 and I am loving it!

    Although the separate room poses many problems and we could harp on about the negatives, we tried to embrace the positives. We use this room as a break out space, a noisy NE reading taskboard room, a quieter maths Year 2 room etc. We use this space flexibly.

    Our 2 spaces are separated by a deck but the walk is covered (a blessing in rainy weather). When we first started working collaboratively we were concerned that learners would find the 'cross space move' challenging, however I now think it provides them with a minute down time....a change in space... and us as teachers seem to have managed this move well.

    The BIG negative for us is a lack of a line of sight between teachers. This has resulted in us needing to follow a planner to the minute! Not ideal when you are having that magic teaching moment with a group.....and a "please give me 2 minute" signal will bounce back of the classroom dividing walls!!!!

    We created two separate learning spaces so that we could use both these spaces flexibly. This meant sharing our furniture budget well, however room size, one large space (2 classrooms) and one small space (1 classroom) dictated furniture choices too.


  • Jacinda Panther (View all users posts) 11 Feb 2015 7:31am ()

    Hi Shanna. Where are you? Would love to visit or even email you for some ideas!

  • Shanna (View all users posts) 11 Feb 2015 8:33am ()

    Hi Jacinda


    I work at Ngatea Primary School, all the way in the Waikato...far from you :) Email questions are more than welcome....so is a visit...or even a skype with my other two buddies in our teaching team.

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 11 Feb 2015 8:47am ()

    Following from Shanna's comment - I'm from Ngatea Primary also, we have days set aside for school visits.  I think last year we had 29 different schools? 

    This term they are:

    Feb: 18th

    March: 11th, 25th

    We did have a school from Christchurch come and see us last year, but for most it will be too far. 


  • Ngaire Shepherd-Wills (View all users posts) 11 Feb 2015 7:49pm ()

    Hi Chris,

    A good school for you to visit might be Clarkville. They have been teaching collaboratively for a while in separate areas. I know that they were knocking their walls through in the xmas holidays, but their staff would have some great knowledge to share. Here are my blog posts from my visits there:



  • Chris Meehan (View all users posts) 11 Feb 2015 9:48pm ()

    Thanks to responders about this. Ngaire, thank you I have followed your blog and enjoyed reading your thoughts and experiences at Clearview. I have been to Clarkville a couple of times, and love their openness to have questions fired at them.
    Last year I worked with a colleague in a 2 room space divided by cloakrooms, where we worked with 56 Year 7/8 students.
    The difference is that this year I am at a new school and we are considering ways to collaborate with 3 rooms which are side by side, but not right next to each other, and then the kicker is that we have a mix of Year 5-8 students and feel unsure about how to put things into operation. Maybe we just need to bite the bullet, have some robust discussions and planning sessions and go for it. From last years experience I know that whatever we do will change almost daily with our own thinking and more importantly feedback from the children.
    Keep the discussion going please people!

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 11 Feb 2015 10:11pm ()

    Hi Chris,


    I think yes.  Bite the bullet.  Making mistakes is what we tell our students to do and yet we are hesitatnt at doing it ourselves.   You'll make changes on the fly, and one week you'll think..  'we can make this better'  and you will.

    I work with 3 other teachers two days a week in a open space.  The other 3 days I'm the IT guy.  (programming, robotics, electronics)  Our space has 80 students (Y7&8), 3 teachers at any one time.  I've only been part of this for 13 months, but the others have been doing it for 3 years.  Have made massive changes.

    What we did last year was a timetable on google docs that students used to plan the day. (teachers had very little input) Booking into session throughout the week where they felt they needed support.  Then either teachers or students (which ever felt they were best to facilitate this learning) ran the workshops.  These were based on Math, Reading, Writing, Arts, P.E.  It worked well, and was very much students directed.

    This year we are still working on 'relationships' and team building, so haven't started our 'teaching programme'.... but it looks like we may run our spaces differently.  Still have workshops but not totally ability based... more focused on social groupings so to still focus on building and supporting relationships with students.  

    Like I said, I only do this two days per week, so this isn't where most of my time/focus is spent.  Not the best person in my school to speak to about this.. But I do love it, and for the first time in 14 years am excited about teaching.  (been teaching 14 years.. lol)

  • Ngaire Shepherd-Wills (View all users posts) 16 Feb 2015 9:18pm ()

    Chris, I think you'll just have to go for it! I know what you mean about changing day by day! Last year, we were running 3 rooms side by side for maths. We were lucky that we had the shared space learning studio running along them, but the third room was definitely disconnected. We used the third room as a teaching space and it was an opt in "quiet zone" for those students who preferred to work on their own. So there was a teacher in there, then another teacher running maths groups in the learning studio. The third teacher was the roving teacher - moving through all the rooms, supporting and monitoring. This worked pretty well. They had someone to go to when stuck and someone to monitor. This was Year 3/4. Hope this makes sense!

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