As an educator serving a rural community, one of my greatest challenges is the vast spectrum of students with which I am presented at the start of every school year. Although I work with students who thrive within academic settings, I am also faced with influencing a substantial population of students to excel beyond the socioeconomic boundaries of living within an under-served community.
For me, teaching is like planting a seed in the boundless mind of a child.
In creating innovative approaches to classroom instruction, I establish a learning platform through which my students arrive to school eagerly anticipating the new twists to standardized curriculum that I have developed over the years. Most recently, I identified a need for alternative classroom seating among my student population.
Throughout my years as an educator, overcoming challenges unique to teaching students in the middle grades has encompassed assignments that include attention-grabbing “Do-Now” activities, engaging vocabulary assignments, and intriguing essay development that sparks student imagination.
According to Caroline Guardino and Elizabeth Fullerton's research, "Changing the classroom environment can increase academic engagement and decrease disruptive behavior." This project is geared toward creating an environment in which students are actively learning and working together to complete project-based assignments.
An alternative seating arrangement of bean bag chairs, bungee chairs, sensory discs and stress relievers is much more advantageous to engaging today's learners.
While recently brainstorming on the development of a positive and flexible learning environment for my students, I realized that a majority of my students enjoy fidgeting during the completion of in-class assignments. Everyday, I open my classroom door to children who enter school like sponges, eager to absorb new information. It is my passion to offer these students a means of learning that expands their minds beyond pre-established boundaries. If a child can experience classroom learning in a comfortable and familiar environment that closely matches the comfort through which they are most efficient and productive, then I have achieved my goal. I truly believe that we can raise the funds necessary in adding alternative seating to my classroom to enhance the learning experience of each one of my students. Not only will alternative seating increase attentiveness, accountability, and academic curiosity among my students, but the initiative will inspire me to increase measures as an educator to continue raising the bar on creative and meaningful ways for children to learn new content daily.
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