Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes- 2nd grade speaks up about Node Desks

After several weeks of testing Node Desks, 2nd grade students were given an audience with Head of Lower School, Ted Lakoski. Below is the video of that discussion.

Interestingly, although students all had recommendations for improving the Node (Steelcase engineers take note) none of them wanted their old desks back. I also notice that with students this age, the responses you get depend on how you frame the questions. If you frame them in the negative, the responses tend to be negative; the same with the inverse.

Student feedback regarding desks- “They are cool because when we take tests we don’t have to stay in our pod; we can move anywhere we want. I like to be by myself in a corner. Some people like being a little close but not too close. The part I don’t like is that we have to stand and move chair instead of moving with our feet. Ms. Peden says we might fall over. There is enough space to work but sometimes some of our stuff falls out of our saucer. Changes- “I would give it color and move forward on its own (pedal). Storage cup for pens and pencils. I would like it to have cushions. If you are small it can hurt your legs on the edge. I just leave my legs hanging rather than on the edge of the saucer."

In visiting with Nicky Peden, the 2nd grade teacher in this classroom, she has made the following observations:
  • The desks are space savers- there is more moving around space in the classroom
  • It is so easy to move groups and change kids in and out of groups. 
  • Weekly test scores have gone up 
  • Students can go wherever they want when testing.  They take what they need for when they finish their test and move to a private space. Students are in there own little world while taking a test and are not concerned with their classmates. When they finish, they do not bother those who are not.
  • Things sometimes fall off desks- cupholders may help
  • 1:1 ipads may help with lessening of clutter- consolidate resources and textbooks 
  • Students who have some behavior challenges have shown improved behavior- they self adjust, move away from group as needed to regain personal control
  • Nicky loves them and would like to have them next year!
The students loved having a voice in the matter and were eager to share their opinions! We will be considering a year-long pilot with furniture choices in the classroom to fit a variety of learning needs.