Friday, January 23, 2015

Seating via Donors Choose Part One

Last week my wonderful friends and family fully funded my first, but probably not last, Donors Choose project. The project stemmed from my need to change the look and feel of my classroom seating arrangements. How does how my kids are sitting impact how they are learning? What ways can I take control of my class and make it something the kids have never seen? How can I get their bodies involved with their learning and actually do something with my belief that the more active their bodies are, the more active their brains are?

It began with the link above. Taking the legs off the desks. Make them sit on the floor or stand. This quickly evolved as students realized what they did or did not like about being on the floor. Pillows were bought, legs were added, adjustments and learning happened. I was happy but not satisfied.* The experiment even caused a 5th grade teacher in my school to take the legs off his desks. Reports are good from his class.

Then I saw what my wonderful friend, Jess Liftshtiz, was doing with her seating. She had gone to Donors Choose, a website I was familiar with but not deeply, created a shopping list, and crowd-funded a whole room full of new seating options for her class. I had to get on this.

Unfortunately, this bug bit me right before the holiday season and Donors Choose shuts down the amazon portion of their ordering at that time because amazon is so slammed with holiday orders. I waited. I bided my time. I bought myself a Gaiam chair.

Short Gaiam Chair review: I really like it. I think it's comfortable, I like how it forces me to sit. And my lower back has been sore all week. That's to be expected, the new seating position engages the core more. I come from athletics and sore is good. If you want to try a Gaiam ball come to my classroom and I'll let you sit on it.

Once the holiday border of January 5th passed I jumped on Donors Choose, hammered out a project proposal, sent it away, fixed the parts they didn't like when they responded to my proposal, and resent it. Once approved I posted it on Facebook (a place I hadn't been since Micheal Brown was murdered and I realized that if I wanted to keep some old friends I shouldn't be on Facebook), my book's Facebook page, and on twitter. I cranked out a blog post explaining the purpose of the Donors Choose, and settled in to wait.

I did not have to wait long. You guys are GOOD and caring and amazing. It funded in a day. 24 hours. I was shocked. I'm still shocked. The generosity of teachers, friends, and family is wonderful.

Donors Choose, for their part, are nothing if not efficient. The project funded and they sent in my orders to amazon and Kaplan. Amazon is also nothing if not efficient and the two items I ordered from there, KORe Wobble Stools, were boxed and on their way to me immediately, if not sooner. Amazon has psychics working for them. That's the only way they ship so quickly.

Pictured: Amazon's shipping department

The stools arrived late yesterday. My students were able to watch me unpack them and assemble them, a process that took all of three seconds. Then I sent them away. This is what we call in the business a "tease". They came in this morning excited about school not only because they have me for a teacher (which is very exciting, I know because I tell them it is), but because newness is exciting.

The reviews so far, after one day, are positive. The stools will move randomly through the class. I expect some to like them less than others, which is why I ordered a variety of things from Donors Choose. Those things should be here next week.

Next week, once everything is here and under the students, I'll write another update in the Seating Saga. Meanwhile, my kids are happy with their Wobble stools, their brains are active, and their bodies are moving.

*Note: I'm never satisfied. Satisfaction equals death of growth.

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