Two great pieces in the Times in the past few days, both affirming what I think our great 21st c. schooling techniques. First, the excellent piece on recess, which was atop the Most Emailed list yesterday.
New research suggests that play and down time may be as important to a child’s academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades… Teachers feel like they’re under huge pressures to get academic excellence to the exclusion of having much fun in the classroom. But playful learning leads to better academic success than the skills-and-drills approach.”
And now today comes a story also on the most-emailed list, about a Minnesota teacher who has built desks for upper elementary students at which they can do their school work standing! Excellent.
On one recent morning, while 11-year-old Nick Raboin had his eye on his math problems, Ms. Brown was noticing that he preferred to shift his weight from one foot to the other as he figured out his fractions. She also knew that his classmate Roxy Cotter liked to stand more than sit. And Brett Leick is inclined to lean on a high stool and swing his right foot under a desk that is near chest level. Helps with concentration, he and Ms. Brown say. … With multiple classrooms filled with stand-up desks, Marine Elementary finds itself at the leading edge of an idea that experts say continues to gain momentum in education: that furniture should be considered as seriously as instruction, particularly given the rise in childhood obesity and the decline in physical education and recess… “At a stand-up desk,” Ms. Seekel said, “I’ve never seen students with their heads down, ever. It helps with being awake, if they can stand, it seems. And for me as a teacher, I can stand at their level to help them. I’m not bent over. I can’t think of one reason why a classroom teacher wouldn’t want these.”