As you may know I have begun the journey into alternate seating possibilities and student choice in my grade 3 classroom. I have designed a learning space where students are given voice and choice over where they choose to work. There are 4 desks, 2 tables, 1 Cafe table for 4, a bar height table and 2 chairs, bean bag chairs, throw pillows, 2 tub chairs, several stools, 2 wicker chairs and a carpeted floor area where students can lie down to work.
One of the things that I have noticed is that students have favourite areas and partners to work with. Many choose the exact same area to work everyday. I am wondering if this is okay or if students need to be guided to experience new work spaces? Do they need to work with a variety of students or the same ones every day?
I have made suggestions to students that they “try out” new spaces and partners but they always seem to migrate back to the same space and friends. Is this a bad thing? Is it any different than keeping them in the same desk groups all year?
There are occasions where students are grouped together or partnered up to complete a variety of activities/assignments, so they are learning to work with others and developing their ability to communicate and collaborate with their peers.
My ultimate goal in creating this space was to better meet the learning needs of my students.
Is the success of this goal being met because students have found a favourite space to work or are they going there out of habit? I am attaining my goal? Should I mess with the success that I am having? I welcome your thoughts.