My students walk into our classroom every day full of life, ready to learn, and excited for what is in store for them that day. At our school, we practice leadership principles through The Leader in Me program, emphasizing the importance of the 7 Habits of Happy Kids and 7 Habits of Effective People. We start each morning with a smile, a handshake, and a hearty "Good morning!" Every morning, prior to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, each student chants the school mission statement: We Lead. We Inspire. We Impact our World.
I teach at a Title I school in Arizona where 100 percent of our students receive free breakfast and lunch.
Many of my students receive a donated backpack of food on the weekend. Despite so many hardships, my students are eager to learn and do their best. They want to be in school because they want to learn all they can so they can be successful one day. They have dreams, they have goals, and they create and work towards action steps each and every day.
I'm a firm believer in keeping the focus on what's really important: the students. If student motivation and higher engagement is truly the desired end game, then we as teachers must adapt right along with our students in our classrooms. To see that some classrooms look the same now as they did 70 years ago is shameful. The students we share our classrooms with don't know life without constant connectivity, wi-fi, and a global audience. Outside the windows of our classroom is a dynamic, fast-paced, and ever-changing world full of choices. How can we expect our students to solve problems and make choices independently if we constantly solve their problems and make their choices for them? Our classroom environments should be conducive to open collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. This simply cannot be done when kids are sitting in rows of desks all day.
Everything I do in my classroom is based on research and best practices for kids.
Redesigning my classroom was not any different. I've found that some of the immediate benefits of flexible seating include burning more calories, using up excess energy, improving metabolism, increased motivation and engagement, creating a better oxygen flow to the brain, and improving core strength and overall posture. It's no surprise that physical activity is linked to higher academic performance, better health, and improved behavior.
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