Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fear Not the Roly Chair!

We are piloting Steelcase's Node Desks in 2 classrooms; a 2nd grade class and a Middle School math class. A few teachers walked by these classrooms with positive interest but most had a "that will never work" attitude. The negative responses are what you would expect-
  • They will be rolling all over the place
  • They will be using them as bumper cars
  • It will be a management nightmare
  • Students will not be able to handle that
  • That would drive me crazy
  • Why on earth would you put kids in something with wheels?
What exactly happens during a typical day with a 2nd grade class on rollers? I created a timelapse video to find out. I have created a shorter version (below) but I also have a full day (just the parts removed where students are out of the classroom).

Although the speed makes it difficult to track individual behavior what it does show is that most movement is purposeful. Students rearrange their desks depending on the type of learning activity they are engaged in. In this video, you will see collaborative and independent work as well as whole class discussions. Groups are fluid and students have opportunities to work with  a larger variety of students. Some students utilize the swivel feature more than others but this does not seem to impact the behavior of the group as a whole. Students do not use the chairs as bumper cars nor do they use them to drag race. My advice is "Try it, you'll like it!" You won't even need the Alka-Seltzer!