Mallory Latham, Kindergarten teacher for Vista Academy℠ of Denton, noticed her students struggled to pay attention and complete their work during “desk” time and performed better during classroom activities away from their desks. She decided to research alternative seating arrangements that might work for her particular group of students.
She found several options with differentiated seating but then stumbled across a blog where a Kindergarten teacher had removed all of the furniture from her classroom. Mallory stated, “At first thought, I was shocked and my mind said, ‘No Way,’ but after thinking about the possibilities, I decided to try it in my classroom.”
After obtaining the go ahead from the school’s director, Susan Thomas, Mallory took out all of the student tables, leaving only her teacher table and one other table in the class. The students were assigned a specific spot on the carpet and instructed to stay in that general area. The students are able to sit, lay down, or lay on their side, as long as they are facing Ms. Latham when she is teaching a lesson. She has a few students who like sitting at the table, but for the most part, the students enjoy being able to move around rather than sitting in a chair.
Mallory said, “The amount of work we get done in a day is significantly higher than when we had desks, and there is so much room to do more activities for learning!”
The parents have been open to the seating arrangement and have expressed their happiness with the outcome it is having on their students’ class work. The school’s director stated, “This has had such a positive outcome on the class that I would allow any of my teachers to try it in their classrooms.” The class has gone over six weeks with this seating arrangement and are in no hurry to put the furniture back in.
Mallory understands that her future students may require something different and said, “I will assess what the needs are for each of my students and build the best classroom possible for them, but for this year, this is what works for my particular set of students.” Mallory has found the students to be more engaged, more active in their learning, and growing as learners each day, by the simple change of removing the classroom furniture.
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