Recently we read an article in TES about a Year 2 teacher in Dubai who has taken the current COVID classroom guidelines and made them stimulating.
By letting the children turn their standard sitting desks in to a “den”. We like it!
Firstly, all kids like dens – inside or outside. I did. It’s exciting, fun and bringing just those attributes to a learning environment is fantastic.
If that can be collaborated with the curriculum then it has to be a winner. It’s like have an active Maths or English lesson which are pretty well understood and liked by a lot of UK Primary Schools.
Here’s the quoted 3 key benefits of creating a den in the classroom…
1: Pupil engagement
As soon as our pupils see their learning space as their own learning den that they are responsible for, you see a whole new sense pride in them.
Immediately they are more excited about their space and are willing to use it more creatively. After all, a desk is to be seated at – but a learning den is to be explored.
By enabling pupils to work in their learning den as they wish, they are more engaged in their learning.
2: Uniting distance learners and classroom pupils
Like many educators around the world, I am now delivering a blended learning model and we strive to equally engage students learning at home and in school.
As such, saying “Stand at your desk” might make perfect sense to a student learning in school, but distance learners may not be learning at a desk and could start to feel left out or upset.
However, if all pupils are invited to create their own learning den, they can all take part and follow the instructions.
By empowering our students at home and in school to create their own learning den, we are creating the united mind-set that we are striving for.
3: Active Learning – the new way
By establishing learning dens, pupils can safely and actively use their space to learn in a distanced manner.
Pupils can add QR codes to the legs of their learning den – for example, a QR code for a thesaurus in English.
As children may no longer have access to shared copies of books, by equipping them with QR codes in their learning den, they have the learning materials they need to hand.
By situating these resources around the learning den (eg, one leg of the learning den is designated towards maths QR codes, one leg English and so on), students must get up and actively use their space to access the required resource.
Laminating a coloured circle in each corner of their learning den also allows pupils to be active while completing work which they may have traditionally done on a whiteboard. Each corner has either a red, blue, green or yellow circle.
In phonics lesson, for example, rather than asking pupils to list their new words on their whiteboard, which does not require them to be active, ask them to write one new vocabulary word in each of the coloured circles.
This simple strategy allows pupils to be regularly moving throughout the lesson rather than being seated for long periods of time. The opportunities for how these circles can be used are endless.
Overall, these changes have made a big difference in how pupils view their socially-distant classroom that now has more of that touch of magic and excitement that a primary classroom should always contain.
So there you have it, creativity and fun whilst learning. We think it’s all part of creating a flexible learning environment and anything that does that is great.
It’s why our EIGER Student classroom standing desks work so well. Giving any child an option to not sit in a classroom all day, every school day and still be able to document their work and be inclusive makes total sense.