My students need flexible seating options (medicine ball chairs, bean bag chairs, lap desks, high top table and stools) so that they can learn in an environment that suits their unique learning styles.
I feel very luck to teach at one of the most diverse schools in the country! I teach English 11 and IB English Literature II. My students not only represent a very wide range of racial and ethic backgrounds, but they come from all over the world.
Some of my students are first-generation high school graduates, and many will be first-generation college graduates!
Many of my students work up to 40 hours a week after school to support their families. Despite these challenges, my students have a genuine respect for learning, value their education, and work very hard to achieve their dreams and make their families proud.
Especially because of the diversity of my students, their learning needs vary greatly. My goal is to create a classroom community where students feel welcome, safe, valued, and comfortable. One where students can collaborate and share openly with their peers. One where every student can be successful, and one that allows me to serve their diverse learning styles.
Think about the physical spaces from which you respond to emails, write, read, and have conversations with colleagues, family and friends. Chances are, you are not sitting in a traditional desk and chair (at least not for 8 hours a day!).
My students, especially given their diverse backgrounds and learning styles, will learn best in an environment that mimics real-world settings.
This means giving students many choices for where they work and collaborate. Current research overwhelmingly suggests that flexible seating increases motivation and engagement, allows students to feel comfortable in school, promotes physical health, and fosters more authentic community-building and collaboration in the classroom.
I've selected the following items for my project: 5 bean bag chairs, a high top table with a set of 4 bar stools, 2 exercise balls, and 2 lap desks. These items, supplemented with things I've already purchased or have from the school, will enable me to offer students plenty of choices for seating in my classroom that will allow them to be comfortable, collaborate easily, and focus more on learning tasks. For example, students who need to move a bit to stay engaged may choose to sit on the exercise balls or stand at the high top table. Sitting on the stools at the table, on the other hand, will require students to sit up and remain alert. Some students may choose the bean bag chairs to feel more comfortable while learning. The lap desks will provide students who choose seating without a table with something to write on. Overall, these items will allow me to create a community-driven, welcoming, and engaging environment for my students, and also allow my students to make better choices for their learning.
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