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Teacher aims to implement "flexible seating" in classroom

EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) - The first day of school for students in the El Paso Independent School District is Monday.

In preparation, the district has given students Ipads and lap-tops to enhance "active learning" and teachers have spent the days leading up to the first day of classes prepping their classrooms. 

Ms. Vanessa Reyes, a third grade dual language teacher at Herrera Elementary in west El Paso, shared her vision for the future of her students with KTSM. 

"More than important, its like a need," said Reyes regarding the effort teachers put into setting up their classrooms ahead of the school year. "I think [teachers] find that we want to do so many things and implement them in the classroom, but we don't have the resources." 

She said she is struggling to make a switch to a different kind of learning environment she believes her students will be receptive to called "flexible seating."

"You have tall stools, low tables, sofas and you pick something that you feel comfortable with," said Reyes. "It depends on the person, so I think if I was a student ,what would I like to see where would I like to sit?"

Reyes says this will be the first year she uses different types of seating arrangements such as crates, stools, and carpets, to stimulate her student's learning.

The example she uses is the way adults go to a coffee shop to study or finish up some work. 

"We have ottomans, we have cushions, we have yoga balls and mats. We have carpets, top tables, low tables, stools and some crates so that the student will pick and choose," said Reyes. 

However this teaching style is not cheap, like many other teachers, Reyes has created a fundraising campaign site to get her students flexible seating. 

Through garage sales she said she has been able to gather bits and pieces, but hopes to complete her flexible seating wish-list through donorschoose.org, a fundraising site created by a teacher in the Bronx, who also found herself fundraising for her students.

When asked how hard it is to be a teacher Reyes responded, "that is a hard question, it is really tough because you want to help your students in every way." 


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