Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers
The NJ ASK is upon us - which means two weeks of testing (one for the 7th. and 8th. grades, one for the 6th. grade - why we do it this way still puzzles me) and two weeks of interrupted learning. My sixth graders arrive at 11:00 this week, so as not to disturb the testing, but our room has already taken on the look of a "testing room" for the 7th. grade class assigned to our space - five rows of five desks....ugh!
I walked into our classroom today, and gazed upon those rows with loathing. Gone were our friendly pods of five desks, spaced at odd angles so that everyone could move around the room easily. Gone was that friendly feel of a room where people often work together to learn, where discussion and collaboration is encouraged. Gone was that familiar, reassuring feeling of being able to see each face as I stood in front of the room.
Later, after the testing was over and my afternoon group arrived for their block of classes, my students seemed just as disoriented as I was. They looked around the room in consternation: "Where do we sit?", "This is so weird!", "Can't we just move our desks back to normal?!" We did the best we could to settle in, but no one could quite get used to the system of rows. Writing Workshop conferences, our Triangle of Trade DBQ activity, our book club meetings (the order of business today)...none of them seemed quite the same now that we were sitting in rows. Funny, how something like this can completely change the dynamic of the classroom. The rows seemed to interfere with our cohesiveness, our sense of being a learning community.
At the end of the day, one of my kids asked if we could "go back to normal" tomorrow. That means rearranging the desks...twice a day. Should we do it?
Absolutely! Away with rows tomorrow!!!