A Starbucks Classroom: Adapting to the 21st Century
By Mrs. Gina Leary
October 9, 2019
For as long as I can remember my favorite place to get some work done has been Starbucks. It has slowly become my dream as a teacher to make my classroom look more like a Starbucks for kids and less like a traditional classroom.
Let’s think about when we walk into Starbucks to order our favorite beverage and get some work done. Why do we choose to get work done at Starbucks? For me, it is the freedom. I get to choose where I sit and how I work. What type of seating do you gravitate towards in Starbucks? Is it the comfy armchair by the fireplace? Maybe you focus best on the small sofa near the window? Some still gravitate towards the traditional table and chairs. Regardless, when you walk into Starbucks to get some work done, you have a choice. Nobody directs you to one spot, telling you that you must sit there for the remainder of the day in a certain position to get your work done. If you need to get up and walk around, or change your seating, you have the option to do that. As I sat in Starbucks a few years back, I decided to create a 21st century Starbucks classroom model, where my students had freedom and choice to learn in a position that brought them the utmost success.
Some may have heard of the trend sweeping our educational nation called “flexible seating.” In brief, flexible seating is allowing students to learn in a variety of positions. This may include standing, sitting, rocking, or even bouncing. When we bring flexible seating into our classrooms, we think about the learning needs of our students. Some popular flexible seating tools are wobble stools, lap desks, or even exercise balls. All of the items prompt students to learn and explore in different ways. Flexible seating has a variety of benefits.
Flexible seating allows students to have choice in their learning. When we give students choice, we empower them. We empower them to be passionate about what they are learning. Flexible seating allows students to understand their own learning style. Allowing students to choose how they sit while focusing is huge in getting students to be excited to learn.
When a student walks into my classroom, I want them to feel empowered, comfortable, and in charge of their learning. I want my students to OWN how they learn best. I want them to celebrate their learning differences. If one child learns best on a wobble stool, one at a lap desk, and another on a traditional chair, let’s celebrate this! It is time to diversify our classrooms into a place where learning looks interactive, student centered, and student directed. If it is right for the students, it is right!