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Marcy Open School: Overview

In retrospect, my experience at Marcy Open School was very enlightening. At the beginning, I questioned the application of volunteering and architecture class, but now it seems so clear. I've always like volunteering, so I didn't mind the fact that it was required for this class. I never really experienced a typical class day in an elementary classroom until a couple weeks in because I my job had always consisted of reading with Shanice in a small, secluded classroom. One day, when she was absent, I was sent to Teresa's room to help a group of younger boys read. My first observation was how well Teresa could direct her class on the classroom activities. However, I scanned the room and noticed instantly the clutter that lined each wall. After I finished reading with the boys and Teresa took her kids down to "circles", I had some time alone with her filing papers to ask her questions. She mentioned the problems with her classroom, shelving being the largest. She showed me the mess above the cubbies and the lack of adequate shelving for her materials. Although she had done a good job compartmentalizing everything on the shelves, the clutter was inevitable. The problem seemed more deep then just the physical for her. I began to connect the problems with shelving and everyday classroom activies and realized the struggle she faces. How do you have children do problems on the board when necessary shelving occupies the space below so that they cannot reach? How do you access shelving with doors when there is a table blocking the shelving? She seemed to utilize the minimal space efficiently through having tables istead of individual desks and other quick fixes of this sort; however, with the growing number of students many problems continue to surface. Thus, shelving solutions could be an efficient way to solve such problems of overcrowding.