Reading the Room: Find the Perfect Place to Perk Up
Help me give my students a comfortable and flexible space with adjustable standing tables and saucer chairs so that their work environment matches their learning styles, thereby increasing their ability to focus.
Everyone has a story, and the stories of my middle school students are as varied and unique as those on a library shelf. Topics in their stories include refugees, homelessness, first generation Americans, single parent families, transgender identity, mental health disorders, hearing and vision impairment, wealth, poverty, learning disabilities, and academically advanced.
Rather than use these differences to divide themselves from each other, they instead use their unique and varied stories, and with it their strengths, to support, uplift, and challenge each other and themselves.
It's not easy, and takes a lot of trust, faith, and hard work, but they are determined to help each other reach their goals and excel academically.
Almost half of my students began this school year below grade level in reading and writing, while also struggling with short attention spans and self-confidence. I added some colorful LED lights, soft lamps, pillows, and colorful rugs, hoping to create a calm, inviting atmosphere, and to coax my 6th graders out of their shells. The small change in the decor has proven to have a positive effect on their academic and social behavior. They've enjoyed being able to sit comfortably during lessons and individual work time, and having the freedom to choose where to sit has allowed for authentic academic interactions and conversations to occur.
An added benefit of having a flexible space and inviting atmosphere has been that not only have my students been more engaged and successful in their academic learning, but our classroom has become a safe and happy place where students like to come and hang out with each other before school.
Sitting together on the rugs and pillows, they laugh and visit. Even students from other teams like to come into my room with their friends.
Adding adjustable standing tables and saucer chairs will give my students even more options that they don't currently have. This would be especially beneficial for those who like to stand during lessons, or when working on assignments. Right now, when students want to stand, but need to take notes, they must either balance a clipboard with one hand while writing with the other, or stand awkwardly bent over their desks. The addition of my requested products would eliminate this issue and give them exciting places to work.
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