I teach math, so students already usually have their guard up when they come into the room. Many of my students also have experienced some form of trauma: hunger, neglect, physical and emotional abuse. They're already struggling to get through their day; and school (especially math class) can feel like a scary, stressful place.
Our students are ethnically diverse, and there is a high percentage of students coming from a background of low socio-economic status.
One of our public high school's goals is to create and expand rigorous and equitable programs of study with high expectations for all students. Specifically, one of our objectives is to increase the number of all students from traditionally under-represented groups enrolled in honors, IB, Higher Math, and dual credit classes. For these students to succeed in these classes, they must first really want to be in school.
I would like to purchase 7 standing tables to offer as flexible seating in my classroom. These tables do not look like "school desks." In addition, standing up while working increases blood flow to the brain and will help students stay more alert and engaged.
I am trying to transform my classroom into a warm, comfortable space where students want to linger.
A major component of that is making it look less like an institutional environment and more like someplace you might want to hang out. Reduced lighting, flexible seating, and some music playing help to reduce stress. Helping my students feel more relaxed and welcome through a mellow environment will help them be more receptive to learning.
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