Our school is in an extremely rural area. We have 49 students in our middle school and the next closest middle school is 30 miles away! We work hard to give our students as many opportunities as possible within this environment. Field trips are a rare treat since everything is far away. Many of our students come from 15 miles or more away from school, and most participate in sports. This means we have students who are gone from home for 13-14 hours.
We are an innovative school working to provide our students the best learning experience possible within the confines of our location.
Much of this learning takes place online through online guest speakers, videos, and virtual field trips. We strive to develop in our students the desire to see the world outside of this area!
In the 21st century, more and more employers are looking for ways to ensure their employees want to come to work. Open offices, comfortable spaces, and flexible options are some of the ways companies are accomplishing this. As educators, we face similar challenges. How do we prepare students for jobs we don't yet know exist if they are not interested in coming to school?
Collaboration is key to success in the businesses of today and is a skill we are striving to foster in our students at Upton Middle School.
Research has consistently shown that flexible seating options help to build collaboration skills and increase student engagement. When you combine comfortable spaces and flexible seating in a classroom with solid educational practices, the result is students who are more engaged and invested in their learning.
I have already added wobble chairs in an effort to give students who need to be able to move a chance to be able to do that while still engaging in their work. These have been a great success! I am now looking to add a bar height table to allow students to stand as they work in groups as well as a couch where they can sit comfortably to read or brainstorm with peers.
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