Episode 17- Ditch the Desks: Part Two!

deskless teaching Aug 30, 2022
deskless teaching

Listen til the very end for a Blooper...

😩🤪 Spoiler alert... I recorded this at the very end of a VERY long Monday and I'm exhausted but couldn't wait another minute to get you the second half of this Deskless Classroom Podcast! LOTS of links and references to other folx were shared in this episode and you can find them all below! Happy Listening!

Andrea, Positively Win Big, who validated teachers' feelings about desk-less teaching

Listen to Podcast episode 3 for hacks on student buy-in 😉

Want to watch tons of classroom videos? Follow Lady Language 411, Nelann Taylor

Bertha Delgadillo, Profesora Delgadillo, shares videos of her high school desk-less classroom

Sra. Mapi is going deskless!

Elicia Cárdenas blog

Facebook group for deskless World Language teachers

Amy Marshall

Don't forget to read this blog on the pros of being deskless.

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Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authentically, and guidance in centering joy and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most our students, I'm your host, Annabel. Most people call me let me La maestra loca. And I'm an educator just like you, and inspiring teachers is what I do.

Part 2

Hi there and welcome to episode 17 of teaching la vida loca. This episode is part two of a two-part episode series it can you even say that? Is it a series really, if it's there's only two parts, I don't know? But it's the second part of a podcast I recorded last week on being a deskless teacher in a deskless classroom. And this week, I want to talk to you about buy in, admin buy in, parent and family buy in, student buy in, as well as some logistics, I'm going to do my best to continue to keep this short like last week's. And I kind of have to because I shut off the air conditioning in order to record because the background noise is just too much. And my husband will notice in Louisiana when the AC is on. So, it's going to have to be short. Okay.

Student Buy-In

So, let's start with student buy in with when it comes to desks. A lot of people on Instagram made comments that they were nervous or hesitant to go deskless because of worrying about what students would think or student complaints, etc. If you know that it's what's best, then just do it and deal with the complaining is my first instinct. But then I want to validate that is real. And when you make this switch, there will be students who complain, especially in middle and high school, because it is a shift, and it doesn't allow them to hide. And it doesn't allow them to lean or lay on desks or fall asleep on desks. And it doesn't allow them to hide their cell phone. So, it is a big shift for them. But and I was so happy that a friend Andrea, who is positively dot win big on Instagram, I'll link her account, Andrea messaged me and she said I just wanted to validate the feelings of any high school teachers out there who are worried about that, because I had some complaints my first year, but now second year, and nobody complains anymore, because it's just the norm in my class. And that's so real. At first when you do it, if you have students who have had you before with desks, they are going to complain a little bit because it's new, it's different, it might feel uncomfortable for a little while for some of them. But once it becomes the norm of your classroom, there won't be complaining anymore. And I promise you, it's again, going back to the last episode, it's liberating. It's so freeing. The fact that they can't hide, and they can't hide cell phones and all the other things is just a wonderful, wonderful thing. And it builds so much more community and allows for so much more movement and classroom management is so much easier. All the things that I talked about last time. 

Hacks for Desk-less Classrooms

When it comes to buy in, I talked a lot about student buy in, in episode three of this podcast, not around deskless classrooms, but buy in, in activities and in your classroom in general. So, if you're interested in more on that, you can go to episode three. But one of the hacks that I shared in that episode is videos, show videos of other students in other classrooms around the nation around the world who are in deskless classrooms. get by in that way. Don't say oh, look at how much fun they're having in a deskless classroom. Show them a video of an activity that high schoolers are doing in a deskless classroom and say, Okay, let's try it. And they're just going to be observant and smart because that's who they are. And they're going to see oh, those students are also around our age and in a deskless classroom and look at how they're enjoying this activity or how they're able to move around and do this in that way. And they're never going to say that that's why they buy into things but it's huge to use videos of other students and other classrooms.

Accounts to Follow

I have a few accounts for you to follow to be able to do that. Lady language 411 is Milan Taylor and she shares tons of classroom videos. I might need to scroll back a little while because it's been a while since the last spring when she was sharing them all the time and last just last year in general. So, you might need to scroll but she's got a lot of big high school kids. In a desolate classroom, profesora Delgadillo, Bertha Delgadillo, also always shares videos of her students and her deskless classroom also High School. Positively Win Big, like I said before, Andrea. Andrea is positively dot win big on Instagram. She shared some photos last week of her deskless classroom.

More Links

I'm super excited for my dear friend Mapi is going back to deskless this year on Instagram. She is senora Mapi. And she shared some great posts about being deskless on Instagram. Again, it's SR a dot Mapi. And then of course, there's Elicia Cárdenas, who is the deskless classroom. And I'll link her blog. But that's like, what she's known as and what her blog name is. And she has some great posts about being deskless. You can also share any of my YouTube videos, I have hundreds of videos on YouTube of students elementary and middle school students in deskless classrooms around the nation participating in language activities, and that leads straight into admin buy in, that's where I want to go next. 

Admin Buy-In

If you want easy admin buy in, show them language classrooms around the world, breaking barriers, building connections, building communities, with students communicating in the target language in a deskless setting. It is so powerful. Also, if you just Google research of a desk on a deskless classroom, there are tons that thumbs up. And a lot of the first posts that you're going to see are specific to being in a deskless World Language teacher. On that note, there is a Facebook group as well that I will link in the show notes for deskless world language teacher classrooms, and I have always recommended people go there if they need more support or how to approach admin about this.

Parent Buy-In

I've never had pushback from parents outside of like, well, how do they write, and they get quiet pretty quick when they see that? Oh, yeah, my student is writing every single day. I have clipboards I have notebooks they write every day. Um, but I would approach it the same way with parents as I would with admin. Also, parent communication, right? If you have a system like ClassDojo, or you share on I don't know another classroom platform, post pictures of all the awesome things their students are doing in a deskless classroom so that they can see how it functions.

Not Necessarily a Flexible Seating Classroom

I want to also remind you that being deskless does not mean you are a flexible seating teacher. That's dreamy. Like, I look at classrooms like Amy Marshalls, Amy Marshall has these amazing like gaming chairs, like those wiggly ones that look so comfy. And there are people with like stools, and those Wobblies stools and those awesome cushions. Nope, I just got those hard green chairs. And I don't even have them all on the same size. I have some medium sized ones; I have some big ones. I would love to be flex seating. That's awesome. And that's major goals. But that's not something I can financially afford. And it's not something I want to ask my school to spend our limited budget on. But totally, you could be deskless and flex seating. But you can be deskless just with the desks. Sorry, you can be deskless just with the chairs that your school already has. You're not asking for this huge budget to create this dreamy flex seating classroom. I just want to put that out there too. Not something that I don't want to work towards. Absolutely. But it it's not the exact same thing.

Just Consider It

With all of these things, I should have started the episode saying these are things I'm just asking you to consider. Consider using videos for buy in, consider showing research and classroom videos of other teachers to your admin when you're advocating for it. Right. These are all things you can consider. It's not things that I'm saying these, this is what you have to do. I also want to invite you; I wrote a blog post. I don't know that it was last year it might have been the year before on being deskless. And I basically shared all of these pros in one giant blog post and a couple of cons but you're gonna love the cons because the cons are really just pros. For example, on number one, they can't use your classroom or state standardized testing because Darn it, you don't have any desks in there. So, darn it, you don't have to cover your walls. Now that wasn't every year, I lucked out two or three years where they just didn't want to use my room because of moving desks in covering the most word wall filled room of the school etc. It was too much work. Well, in other years, I lost, and I still had to cover all my walls, and they did move the desks. And then that stinks. But you never know. So, the cons are early on. But I want to invite you to read that blog as well and use that as more evidence and conversation for having these conversations with your administration.

Getting Rid of Those Desks & Tables

I also, don't tell them I said this, but I want to invite you to just say sorry, later, like, a couple schools ago, I came into a classroom full of 25 desks. I neatly stacked them safely out of the way back in my classroom and formed my chairs in a semi-circle. They came in they said, it wasn't safe, they didn't like it. So, I said, Okay, well, I don't like desks. So, I'm just trying to find a solution. So, then I put the desks in a rainbow shape, and what the current chairs in front of them facing forward admin starting to see how beneficial it was and how I never literally ever use them and moved them out halfway through the year for me. In my next classroom, I had tables, and they invested in ended up investing in those awesome tables that hold up and go against the wall because they needed tables in the space, but they realized I legit am never going to use them. And they're not in a very safe way in my classroom. So just buy her different tables. Again, that was at a school with a little bit more money. Then I moved to another school and had tables. I stacked them at the back of the room and slowly went classroom to classroom asking teachers. Oh, you look like your table short. Do you use another table for conferencing with students? I could, oh, well, you know what, I got you covered? No problem. I'll wheel one of mine down to you. And slowly just got rid of all my desks until I only had six at the back of the classroom. They came in, they were like, where are all your tables? And I said, oh, you know, other teachers really needed them. And I'm deskless. So, and nobody really asked any questions. 

Figuring It Out

This current school, if you followed my stories, then you know that I was reaching out at the beginning of this year because I walked into my classroom, there were 16 desks. My coworker, Camille was like, Okay, we'll figure it out. She can just tell that I was like, oh, my God, what am I gonna do. And we managed to get rid of a couple of them, because I worked closely with facilities and begged and pleaded basically. And then the rest of them, I just decided to put on the edges of my classroom cover with tablecloths and they're my storage. So, I store things underneath them. It looks really easy and unicorny because I went to the fabric store and bought really pretty fabric that I'm really proud of. And so, I'm really happy with them. And it turned out great.

Wait for the Blog!

But there are lots of different ways to be oh my gosh, y'all, my husband just realized that the air isn't on, I'm gonna have to wrap this love. Oh, that's funny. Logistically, there's a lot of great ways to manage a desk-less classroom and a lot of it has to do with the physical setup of your room. And I've just realized a brilliant way of ending this podcast so that my husband doesn't freak out about the air being off another five minutes. And to encourage you to check out my next blog, which is coming out this week. It's not published yet, but it's coming out this week. And it's a very detailed tour of my classroom. There will be videos and photographs. And photographs of another colleague of mine are classroom, Camille, who I mentioned earlier, and her deskless classroom and how she has it set up for her very little littles and how I have mine set up for my third and fourth grade students, which is exactly what the setup I would have or if I was teaching middle or high school. So, I invite you to come and join me in reading that blog. And really seeing the setup of a deskless classroom and how logistically the placement of everything matters for easy smooth, lightning-fast transitions for the usage of materials and writing utensils, for classroom management purposes. All those things.

Take Care!

 I invite you to read that when I posted later this week. And so far, tonight, that's the end of this blog. I swear I will introduce a new brain break in the next one but right now I really should allow my husband to have some air conditioning. Even though this has only been 15 minutes long. It's amazing how warm a house can get in Louisiana in August. So, I will give him some air. I hope you have a beautiful evening night's morning whenever you're watching this, and I am grateful for you until next time, I'll be teaching la vida loca and I am sure you will be too! Take care. Oh my god. I just listened to the replay, and I definitely said this is the end of the blog and whenever you're watching this, I need to go to bed. Good night, y'all.

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