Friday, November 14, 2014

Seating Experiment Week 1- Getting Comfy

For Part One Follow The Link

Change was in the air. On the floor. In my class.


After no school Monday (teacher work day, yay report cards) and Tuesday (Veterans Day) I finally go to see how my seating experiment would play out in real life. Would the kids who were so excited about sitting on the floor enjoy it as much as they thought? Would my one standing girl stay standing? Would I feel like I was looming and teaching down at them? How many will forget a pillow? Will this post be as popular as the first one? What the hell was that NASA guy in the shirt thinking?

I had a few things in mind going in to this week. I wouldn't make immediate changes unless I absolutely had to. Not to punish the kids for their choice or to teach them a lesson about making up their minds, but because of course sitting on the ground will be uncomfortable at first. Of course it's going to feel weird. We talked about this as a group. It will take your bodies some time to adjust. You're going to have to relearn how to sit. You're going to find out that pillow might not be as fluffy as you think it is.

And for the most part the kids were good about it. No complaints, which was a welcome minor surprise. Not that they are a whiny group it's just that you never know who is going to start complaining about what sometimes. They were really good sports about it. I think a lot of that stemmed from the seating being different. Which is the point.

I did have one boy almost immediately ask to stand instead of be on the floor. He couldn't get comfortable at all even with his pillow. His desk was the first I changed. I'm not going to be a punk about it.

And that, my friends, is the most important thing I had to remember this week: This is an experiment. I don't know how it's going to go. I don't know how they will react. Which means I need to be extra-patient with student decision-making. This realization echoed into the rest of my teaching. It was a good reminder. They are children. Sometimes they don't know because they don't know. Their experience levels are tiny. My job is to help them level up.

It was also fun to watch them adapt to the new environment and see how they worked. I had to change what few How You Work rules I do have (not that I have many, but turns out there were one or two times I caught myself). Check out the pictures.

Use the wall for back support. Great idea.

Use each other for back support. Great idea that only lasted
through this work session.

Ok, that's just clever right there.

As students decided they weren't fans of the floor I allowed requests for changes to be made. If a kid wanted to try standing they would wait for the proper time (aka- when I'm not teaching) and ask nicely. I'd throw a sticky note on the desk so I wouldn't forget then at lunch or recess I'd make the switch. Putting legs on is easy and quick. The only time it takes any real time is the three kids who ended up requesting (after trying the other options) going back to regular seating. That means I need to count the holes so the desk is a reasonable seating height again. Making it tall is easy.

As of right now I've got three traditional desk heights, nine standing desks, and fourteen floor desks. I expect the number of standing desks to drop next week, It's a great idea but not for everyone.

As for me, I don't feel like I'm looming yet. I really like the change both visually and physically. I'm glad I'm doing it. Honestly, one of my challenges is not leaping on to student desks because it would be so easy now. Not to say I haven't, but not nearly as much as I want to. I even adjusted one of the desks I use (yeah, I have a main desk and then my front of house computer desk) as high as it'll go so I have a standing desk too.

A visit to Goodwill yielded four pillows
for those without

I've thought about following in the footsteps of Jess Lifshitz (@JessLifTeach) going to Donor's Choose route to fund alternative seating. She's fully funded but you should still read her blog about it. I'd still really love some balance balls seats and wiggle stools. I'm not sure if it's for me or not yet. Honestly, one of the things holding me back is that if you want to give me money I'd much rather you just buy my book.

I'll write another update next Friday and we'll see where my kids and I are then.

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