I work in a wonderful, but challenging school. Over 80% of our families qualify for free and reduced lunch. Our kids come to us from a varied cultural and economic demographic. But most come from families that are just struggling to keep their heads above water. Many of our families are also migrant workers, who travel the country following the agriculture. We have a diverse population, with many second language learners as well. But these families value education, and support us in any way they can.
Despite the trauma that many of our students experience on a regular basis, they are able to come in each day hoping for a safe, positive, fun learning experience.
Their resilience is what inspires and energizes me to come back to this job year after year. My goal for this year is to offer an environment of "relaxed alertness". I want to provide a safe space where these trauma affected kids can come and feel safe, which will allow for maximum learning. I want the year they are with me to be a memorable and productive one.
Currently my students are able to work in traditional chairs, and they can sit on the carpet if the activity allows. Many kids tend to get fidgety, and lose focus when they are forced into a specific type of seating. My classroom goal this year is to promote that "relaxed alertness" I mentioned in my introduction. Flexible seating allows for "acceptable" fidgeting-movement that doesn't distract from the learning. This in turn can help students stay calm, focused and productive.
Flexible seating also allows students to feel like they have more choice and control in their own learning, and in their classroom.
Choices in seating allow students to choose where they can do their best work. It also allows them to change their location and positions as needed. Ultimately, comfortable students are engaged students.
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