This year I took the advice of another first grade teacher and made some changes in the tables in my room. I have one tall table at which students can stand and work, two normal size for sitting in chairs, and one low table for sitting on the floor. As the year has progressed I have noticed that my students use the low table a lot and the random tables I have around the room. The normal sized tables are not as popular.
Right now my students have netbooks from our library and are working all around the room. Only three chose to sit at our regular, round tables in chairs. Four are at the table I use for guided reading, two are at our little blue table, two are at a small table in a corner, three are on the floor and a couple are at the low table. Next year I may just have one regular sized table for chairs. That would free up more room for the piano I recently moved in.
Great idea, thanks for sharing!
I think that I remember you writing about not having assigned seats and allowing the children to work where they are most comfortable. It looks like that must be working for you and the students. I have a couple of questions. Where do you keep their books/supplies? What do you do during testing? Does this work for guest teachers? We have a short table that the students love. I have one that I could raise too. I'm thinking about my space for next year.
It has worked pretty well for us. We don't have textbooks or such as first grade. Each child has a book box with all of their guided reading books or books from the classroom or school library. I also have four baskets that hold sets of writing folders, handwriting books, homework folders, and such.
I don't have to do a lot of testing, luckily. When I do want them to work completely independently I have a set of clipboards and I set them all around the room.
As for guest teachers, that's a great question. Teachers who work closely with me, who are in here almost everyday, have been fine with it. Substitutes, I don't know. I haven't heard complaints about it, but I can't say for sure. I don't have a lot of 'seat work' really so I haven't missed the assigned seats too much. Occasionally I wish I had a good place to put something for a student or a place to tape a behavior modification plan, but we've always managed to work those kinks out and I think it is totally worth it.
I like the idea of using different tables. I have desks in my room and allow the students to sit where they like. If there is a problem they are moved. They would rather sit with friends so there is very rarely a problem. I also have a carpeted area in my room where students can complete independent or group work. Allowing 5th graders to stretch out and relax during work periods really helps them get through the task. My students also have netbooks and when it is time to use them they float wherever they please, often just to find a plug if the netbook loses its charge. During testing I still do not assign seats but I do place desks in rows.
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