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Woodford County Spanish teachers opt for “deskless” classrooms

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 18:55:04-05

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Spanish teachers at Woodford County High School are rethinking their lesson plans to accommodate a classroom with no desks.

The Spanish department opted for “deskless” classrooms. Students sit in chairs, using clipboards and small whiteboards when they need a hard surface to write on.

“I thought I would want them to have a place to write to be really comfortable, but I don’t really miss having desks,” said Hilary Preece, one of the four teachers who made the transition.

Preece said she restructured her class to include more physical activities. Students move around the classroom to find partners during timed exercises and come up with physical movements to associate with different vocabulary words.

“The flexibility has been really nice,” said Spanish II teacher Kelly Crager. “I think it’s important for the kids to get up and get moving instead of just sitting around.”

The transition began with department chair Jessica Basanta, who spent the 2018-2019 school year testing the deskless environment. Students saw this when they walked into Basanta’s classroom, but Maia Smith, a sophomore, said it was a different to actually experience it.

“I didn’t really think much of it and then I got in there and I was like, this is actually happening,” said Smith.

Crager noticed her student’s initial hesitation, but explained it eventually normalized.

“It took them a little bit to get used to, but now I think they can sense that our class is different. It looks different and we do different kinds of things when they’re in there,” she said. “It’s been working pretty good, I feel like.”

Preece said since the transition, she’s noticed her students pay more attention.

“What the deskless classroom has helped me with is truly engaging the students instead of just asking them to do tasks,” said Preece.