Saturday, October 22, 2011

Name-plate nonsense (bucking the system)...

I am done.  My students no longer have name-plates on their tables.  Every time I turned around, I saw this:

Being the neat-freak that I am, it drives me nuts.  On the first day of school, it made sense- they needed to know where to sit.  Everyone needs a place to call home, right?  Here are 5 reasons why I ditched them and broke with tradition:
  1. If they are taped down, I will immediately need to move a child.
  2. If they are not taped down, some one is always bending or chewing on them.
  3. They should know their name and how to spell it by now.
  4. The fancy ones with tons of info serve as a crutch- they need to learn it and not rely on a chart for numbers and letters.
  5. My students only sit in their assigned table seat for writer's workshop and some social studies & science activities.  They rest of the time, they are in pairs or alone around the room learning.  No one stays in the same spot for long!
I think it's my teaching style that has a big part in this, too.  We have community everything.  We share- tables, materials, ideas, learning, EVERYTHING. 

I'm not a fan of desks, either.  When I moved from kindergarten to first, I asked my custodian to track down tables for me.  I just couldn't imagine desks (clutter collectors) and huge name-plates taped to them.  It almost made me feel like the students would be locked into that location for all eternity.  I believe in movement in the classroom- physical and social.  I want my students to have multiple opportunities to work with and learn from different people throughout their day.  I think name-plates and desks  represent (in my warped mind) a statement that they are locked into certain people and experiences within the room.  This is NOT to say that there is no structure.  There is so much structure that they wouldn't notice if I left the room most of the time.  This freedom of movement came after a month of learning routines and expectations.

I guess because I am new to first, I will be questioning everything this year.  I read somewhere that "everything should be on purpose" when designing the classroom and planning the experiences for your students.  I just want to make sure that there is a reason for doing things, not just because "it's what you do".


1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this post and see myself nodding my head in agreement. I only have the name tags the first 2 weeks of school (many of my kids do not know how to write their first name and 98% have no clue how to write their last name or even what their last name is!) and they are taped above them on dividers that separate my tables into centers. I have never had desks and would go nuts if I did. My kiddos are rarely at their tables. I don't even have a desk. I agree 100% with doing things with a purpose and not just "because" "they" (whoever "they" are) say I am supposed to. I just found your blog through the linky party and am a 1st grade teacher too! I would love for you to come visit my blog. I ahve TONS of *freebies* that I hope you can use! =)

    Heather's Heart