Friday, September 4, 2015

Sit. Stand. Work.

Photo by edutopia

 The thrill of the hunt continued today.  Despite 3 new CVS location visits, I was unable to locate any more green chairs.  (Now reduced to 75% off!)  I'd really like to find 4 more, as I know that at least a few will fall victim to tomfoolery at some point during the semester.

After seven school days, I am more than pleased with both the chairs, and the reaction to them.  Kids come in my room and perk up, just a bit, and settle quickly into a comfortable space.  I'm still adjusting my opinions about whether I should allow students to sit with laptops in the chairs, working on proposals or written assignments, as the jury is still out on how effective that is in terms of productivity. The only down side appears to be the jealous glares of the members of the class across the hall.

In addition to the green chairs, I've also added a "standing table," -- a 4 foot long table that I picked up at Costco, which which is available to any student who would rather stand than sit in my room.  Standing tables are getting a LOT of attention these days, as is the idea of creating alternative spaces to engage students.  Edutopia has a wonderful article -- which includes the photo above -- that pretty much sums up the "Pick your battles" method to motivating learners. (I particularly loved the story of the boy in the rocking chair on the windowsill.  Fortunately I have narrow windows and no rocking chairs in my room...)

What do I do to show I care about my students?  I have lap robe blankets in my closet, for when the air conditioning gets too cold, or the heat is lacking.  I don't care if they charge their phones in my room, as long as they leave them alone, I bring in aloe tissues for sick kids, instead of the sandpaper tissues the district provides.  I have a stash of inexpensive school supplies that I pick up when places mark stuff down to 90% off, and I usually have a mint or a granola bar for the truly desperate.

Are my expectations for quality work high?  You bet.  Is it a battle to see quality in the work of my students?  Not since I focused on proving to them that I care.

Tomorrow I will check a few more CVS stores, hoping for four more chairs.  It's the thrill of the hunt, I tell you.

And the thrill of successful students.