Local USD 470 teacher Jessica Winegarner is attempting to raise money to outfit her classroom with an alternative style of seating.
“This year, my students are very unique, and it has been a challenge for me to meet their needs,” she said.
In an attempt to aid her students’ learning styles, she decided to create different types of seating in her classroom so her students can learn while they are more comfortable.
“I started this journey in January,” she said, “and tested the waters by removing some table legs, raising table legs and bringing in seating I had at home.”
“My students immediately benefited from the choice they were given to find what works best for them,” Winegarner added. “Some prefer to lay on the floor on a bean bag and use a clipboard to write on. Others like to sit taller on a stool.
“After 11 years, I know that education is constantly changing as new best practices are discovered.”
Winegarner already has noticed some of her students at Adams Elementary School have been helped by the measures she has taken in her classroom.
One student in particular does well with a desk that is low to the ground.
“I have seen huge improvement in their ability to focus and complete tasks,” she said. “They also enjoy having their own comfortable space. I am now ready to increase the number of options for them, since I have seen firsthand the benefits of this idea.”
So the teacher took to donorschoice.org, a site that allows teachers to raise funds online.
“When they are comfortable, their focus is on what I am teaching,” Winegarner said. “My students need to have the choice to find what works for them.”
“They are not distracted by the fact that they’ve been sitting in a traditional chair-and-table arrangement. Just like at home, where I can put my feet up and relax as I’m grading papers, they can put their feet up on another chair, or bounce — little bounces! — on a ball.”
She has chosen several items she thinks will help her students to focus, including bouncy bands for desks and several balance balls that students can use as chairs. Altogether, the total of the items she chose came to $535.46. Her campaign only began Sunday/March 5, but she only needs $237 of her original goal.
For those who take the time and effort to donate, Winegarner said she is grateful. “My kids say ‘thank you’ — even louder than I would. Any donation at all is one step closer to my goal, which will help my students be the best learners they can be,” she said.
Her fundraiser can be found at www.donorschoose.org/project/alternative-seating-options/2479297/?challengeid=20915436.