Thursday, September 22, 2016
"This is the most magnificent life has ever been. Here is heaven and earth and the brilliant sky in between"
The school year has been off to a great start with regards to my classroom. I'm doing flexible seating this year, and I have gone completely desk-less. My parents came to meet the teacher and walked into the room speechless. The looks on their faces and the questions in their eyes said it all, "Have you lost your flipping mind? You must be bananas, and I can't believe administration actually put my child in your class." They questioned my sanity, and I admit, I questioned it too at first, but they realized that I had approached this new idea with gusto and armed with research. It has been completely amazing and full of failures.
Nerd House Coffee is Born!
During the Age of Enlightenment, coffeehouses became the hub of innovation. In the spirit of enlightenment and district of innovation, my classroom has become a coffeehouse; 21st century as opposed to 18th. My amazing students have even named it; Nerd House Coffee. We are a place where ideas are freely shared with respect to our differences. Voices are heard in an environment free of ridicule but packed with constructive criticism. Questions are asked and the "what if" spirit is celebrated. It is amazing to think that these kids are only nine and ten. Very wise beyond their years, but kind as only kids with free spirits can be. It is the most magnificent my school life has ever been.
I know I make it sound like everything was perfect, and most of it has been, but we have had our stumbling blocks. Bean Bags deflating, back rest pillows popping and oozing their stuffing around the room, and not-so-innovative friends trying to crush my Vanguard dreams. It is interesting to me that people in education have such a fixed mindset on what should happen in a classroom and what a classroom should look like. How are we supposed to set our students up for the future if we can't have a growth mindset that allows us to dream of what the future may hold. How do we keep ourselves in line with district expectations of #limitlesscuriosity #collaborativespirit if we can't even act on our curiosities without fear of ridicule? I have made the executive decision, as CEO of NerdHouseCoffee, that our classroom will be a place full of limitless curiosity regardless of how the haters react. We are only limited by our imaginations, right?
I have given Math tests in Butterfly chairs, yoga balls, and on the classroom floor. I've seen the anxieties of my GT kids drift away as they cover with blankets and settle in to just another day in the coffee house. I've watched their active discussions grow like those of our "Friends" at Central Perk, and I know I've made the right decision for my kids and those that will come after them. My only regret....I didn't do it sooner.