As a teacher at a relatively high-poverty school compared to the rest of the state, it is hard to watch my students struggle through the school day given the other burdens they face on a day-to-day basis. While several students come from happy and healthy homes, some students are homeless, and others come from unstable homes, and they struggle to sleep at night or find a meal the next morning. When these students walk into my classroom, they carry so much with them that I have a hard time expecting them to focus given everything else with which they're dealing.
Most of my students are 10th graders and, primarily because of their economic statuses, they are unprepared for school when walking into the building because they either didn't sleep well the night before or they can't find breakfast.
The students are straining to find something they can actually control, and it comes in the form of furniture placement in the classroom. Students are manipulating the furniture placement to fit their needs, and some are forgoing the furniture altogether. Students find the desks very uncomfortable and will often lay or sit on the floor because it is more comfortable.
Flexible seating will allow students to choose how they are physically positioned in the classroom. Some students do prefer traditional desks, but many students would rather sit in a more comfortable position.
Research shows that if a student is more comfortable in class and given choices in their environment, they will be more engaged and therefore more successful with the 21st Century Skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
Engagement in a lesson requires not only active learning strategies but student involvement as well. Students are decreasingly involved in the learning process as they see the classroom as a boring environment that doesn't meet their needs. The resources requested for this project include items that are popular with students today and they are more comfortable than traditional desks.
The "Sofa Sack Bean Bag Chairs" and the "Big Joe Dorm Bean Bag Chairs" will give students a comfortable place to sit and still have the physical support they need to stay focused. The "Fur Saucer Chairs" offer an alternative seating option that still allows students to sit upright but in a more relaxed way than traditional desks. For the students who prefer to lay on the floor and spread out while they work, the "Contemporary Area Rug" will provide a softer and cleaner place to work compared to the school carpet. Finally, the "Inflatable Empire Chairs" are a unique addition in that they are more firm than the other options suggested above, but they still offer a more relaxed environment than the traditional student desks.
The furniture colors were chosen based on research supporting the use of cooler colors such as blue, gray, and green to create a less industrial environment and more calming environment that supports the implementation of 21st Century Skills.
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