At some point all students get antsy sitting in class for too long.
But when Amy Clink, a first and second grade teacher at Molholm Elementary in Lakewood found that her students were having a hard time learning because they have to sit still for …
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But when Amy Clink, a first and second grade teacher at Molholm Elementary in Lakewood found that her students were having a hard time learning because they have to sit still for so long, she decided to change things up.
“The kids weren’t using the chairs and the principal here (John D’Orazio) said I could change the classroom,” Clink said. “I decided to change it to different height levels on the desks for different positions.”
Clink moved the desks together into different pods, each one with a different approach — one pod is made up of tall desks for students who want to stand, there is a very low pod for those who want to kneel, a third pod made up of T-stools, which require balance to stay upright, and another pod where the students sit on exercise balls.
There is also an area for students to lay down with clipboards and work if that is more comfortable.
The students were making movement choices based on an environment that wasn’t conducive to it, she explained, and so she wanted them to have choices about the best position for them to learn.
“I’ve found ways to incorporate a lot of movement into our class,” Clink said. “It’s so hard for these students — especially the young boys — to have to sit down for such long periods of time.”
Clink loaded up child-friendly videos of dances and Zumba from YouTube so her students can get some exercise to shake things up.
D’Orazio has been very supportive of Clink’s efforts to innovate and she’s continually researching new methods and techniques.
The students in Clink’s class seem to be enjoying the new situation as well. The class set-up gives the students a chance to focus on their goals.
“I’m staying with reading because I want to get a higher score,” said Evangelina, a student in the class.
By tapping into technology and new approaches to learning, Clink hopes to prepare her students for careers that haven’t even been invented yet.
“I want to value the choices these kids are making, because they don’t get a whole lot of them,” she said. “I like to think outside the box, because if I’m not changing and growing, how can I expect my students to?”
To follow her progress, visit Clink’s blog at www.aclassroomofmyown.blogspot.com.
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