What do you need to ensure this is your best year yet? (More on this in another post)
The girls wrote the things they needed down on post-its and the statement that came up over and over again was.....
"I need my own desk to do my best work"
Although our classroom is not officially a Modern Learning Environment, the learning happening in our team is most definitely based on Modern Learning Pedagogies- it is student-centred with lots of project and passion-based learning; makered and design thinking are a big part of what we do. Student voice is at the centre of our class culture and we are constantly reflecting and innovating together to make things better for all of us as learners.
So I feel a slight tension with their desire to have their own designated desks. For a start we don't even have enough desks! We removed lots to make room for the big watering hole table in the centre of our room. And what about the lovely comfy couch? Don't they want to work there where they can relax? Don't they want to sit on the floor in front of the coffee table? What about the chill- out space in the corridor. Don't they want to chill out on beanbags or lie on the floor?
Apparently not! But why?
This is obviously "on top" for my girls so we had a long chat and explored why having a designated desk was so important to them.
"Sometimes my friend wants me to sit with her but I know we're a bad combination. I think I should sit somewhere else but don't want to hurt her feelings."
"Sometimes I'm late for school and all the way here I worry about which desk I will get."
"My eyes aren't great and I worry about not being able to see."
" My ears aren't great and I worry about not being able to hear."
"I like not being too close to the windows because I get distracted."
" I like being close to the windows so I can look at the view."
"Honestly, I am more likely to sit and work with new people when the teachers choose my seat than when I choose. Then I tend to stick with the same old people. "
" I just worry too much about where to sit."
So I've spent the day reflecting on this. Should we be working through the reasons the girls have given and finding workable solutions for them all? Is that really a good use of our time or could we be spending that time engaged in amazing learning and working to make a difference in the world. They've already said they really want to switch table groups every second Friday so they'll still be working with a variety of people. Might this be a case of don't sweat the small stuff?
In this case, Liz and I have decided that the voice of our learners is more important than our vision of what an MLE should look like with its few scattered tables and highly engaged kids lounging around on beautiful soft furnishings. So on Monday, at the request of our learners, our girls will be pulling desk/ table numbers out of a hat and sitting in their allocated seat.
I seem to have some issues when it comes to setting up the classroom. What do you do in your class? What age group do you work with? What do you think is the ideal situation regarding desk/ tables?