October 31 2017

Week 2

Week 2—- Wow!  It was an interesting week.  I can really tell the kiddos that do not belong in a desk.  This week we switched spaces and the desks and no desks changed spots.  I could see the squirming and hear the begging to be back on the floor or at a table from a few all week.  At the end of the week I asked the students to write down again their preferred seating- Desk, No Desk, or Tall desk.  —- Amazing! Still only a few want a desk.  The rest really want no desk.  This should get interesting.  I purchased a few more crates like before and our awesome janitor found me two standing desks.  I brought in a carpet remnant and they love that and a couple large body like pillows.  Also, strangely enough a small roll pillow that is memory foam is a favorite for the floor.  In week 3 we will try to implement their choice of seating and get a new round table… fingers crossed.  My plan is to leave 8 regular desks to be used by anyone.  The 2 that definitely want a desk may have their own to organize, others will have a crate.

My struggle has been with the kiddos being in a certain spot when I teach.  I find it a little distracting to me, but that’s because it is against the normal mode and my problem, not theirs.  I am anxious to find a new groove and see how week 3 turns out!  Any ideas or suggestions on organizing their stuff would help, especially handing out paper.

 

Have an amazing week!  Keep swinging !

October 19 2017

Hello world!

Welcome to the first blog of my life!  3rd Grade monkeys is a way to express what is new and exciting in our classroom. I am always up for a challenge and boy have I chosen one this time….. Flexible seating!!

I know lots of people are experimenting with flexible seating today, however I was stumped on how to begin. I am a tried and true get started, jump right in and see what happens kind of person.  However, there is also this side of me that puts things off that seem overwhelming… like laundry and piles of shoes that need organized.  So this new idea of flexible seating had me so excited but overwhelmed.  Where to begin?  How?  Will it work?  What if I want the desks back?  Where will students keep their supplies?, ???????  So I just didn’t really do anything…. like the pile of shoes waiting to be organized.  Great intentions,but….

I did start implementing little things though.  I brought in a papasan chair from home that my kids had outgrown, a step stool style chair, and I bought some tie on chair cushions to be used on the floor.  That’s how we started the year.  Students loved the new items and the freedom to work on the floor.  I also “acquired” a small table that could be used as a standing table.  The only problem was the desks in the room.  I still had 22 large executive style desks.  They take up sooooo much room.  What to do?

So.. I decided one day I needed to jump in a little farther… not all the way… still overwhelming thought. I had the students turn all the desks facing the walls away from the center.  So we had 2-3 long rows facing the walls.  Then in the open area we tried two things.  One day we put all our chairs in rows for instruction and then went back to desks at work time with the option to work at your desk or alternative seating.  I loved the openness and the facing away really focused them while they worked.  The chairs however, were in the way.  Too much moving them around.  So the next day, we left our chairs and just came up on the floor for instruction time and then chose desk or alternative seats for working on assignments or projects.  This worked great!  Loved this.  Still had those 22 desks in the room though so it was crowded around the edges and blocked the doorway coming in and out of the room.

Ok, I had dipped a toe, then a leg, made it halfway in…. so why not just go for it?  Last Friday, Fun Day – end of the quarter, I asked the students to write down whether they wanted a desk, no desk, or standing desk.  I was amazed!! All but 18 said no desk, 2 standing desk, and 2 wanted their desk.  You know that overwhelming feeling I was talking about…. well WOW!!  So I couldn’t get rid of that many desks… that would be insanity.  LOL  So I drew 10 names and we emptied the desks and off we went down the hallway carrying the desks to storage… with notes attached to STORE  not get rid of … we may want them back.  It was all very exciting and scary at the same time.  The kiddos went home with instructions to bring a box or crate if they had one to store supplies and books.

Monday morning we jumped into week 1 of this new adventure.  However, only one person brought a crate…. I should have figured that.  Luckily, I had had a Wal-Mart adventure on Sunday and bought 5 stacking bins that worked wonderfully.  They hold everything just perfectly.  I placed them around the room against the wall . Also, I found a couple paper boxes that worked for two more students.  We moved my large table away from the wall and put 6 chairs around it.  So that means we have a sitting table, standing table, and 12 desks.  Also, cushions, crate with chair cushion, step stool, papasan chair, bench and floor.

So far students are happy, I am dealing.  I love that it is different, but find myself surprisingly missing the structure of the desks.  I know it’s because that’s what I have always known.  But who would have thought that I needed that.  I had difficulty figuring out where the “homeless” should be at when I wanted to take attendance or give instructions.  We are working on it.  There are many kinks to work out. I would say I have jumped in and am now doggy paddling to shore.  (Love my water references)

First attempt at trying a little free choice seating

Next step…. taking out 10 desks!!  EEEK