The Heaven of CHS

Thursday, October 27th, 2016
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Hey, you… Have you been to room B157? Have you done your casual stroll by Mrs. McCabe’s room? Well, if you have not, after you hear about this new and improved room, you might even skip time with your friends during lunch just to take a visit!

Recently, Mrs. McCabe’s room was remodeled to be completely different and unique compared to any other teachers’ in the high school. It begins in the back of the room filled with four-foot bean bag chairs, comfortable window seats, buoy chairs, and finally comfortable stools with a big desk space. Could it get any better? I could not help but be curious as to how or why her room was so pleasing… It lead me to think, how could they make such a room be so luxurious? There was something fishy going on, so I went right to the source: Mrs. McCabe.

I first asked her what had inspired her to change her room, and she had quite a backstory. Mrs. McCabe had been fortunate enough to take a trip to Google’s New York City headquarters in Chelsea, and also taken her students with her as a field trip. She was amazed to see all the different types of rooms inside the building that were built to make different types of personalities thrive and succeed. They went from fake grass and lawn chairs, to lego rooms! It inspired her to think of a change to her own room. How could she allow her students to be comfortable, but put in their best effort by creating a personalized learning environment?

That is when she decided to change her room. She had started making minor improvements her second year of teaching, and creating it took a lot of work. She called carpet stores, and found cozy window seats. Her students could relax near the windows and on the floor. All she needed was a filler… something that would make the entire classroom comfortable, and that is when she wrote a grant and was awarded money from the Chatham Education Foundation.

After her classroom was filled with all the necessary components of being healthy and enjoyable learning environment, students tended to gravitate towards particular areas of the room. Mrs. McCabe had created the different areas of the room for different purposes, such as the bean bags for the use of Chromebooks, and the spacious and large desks to spread out notes and supplies. The most popular area of the room was, not a surprise, the corner full of bean bag chairs. Students enjoyed reading there in peace and commented how the bags felt “like clouds”. It brings a smile to Mrs. McCabe’s face knowing that her efforts paid off.

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Overall, after asking her what causes this environment to be more successful than other classrooms, she said that it promotes movement, unlike traditional desks that are “static and stationary”. Research proves that sitting still is unhealthy, and she encourages anything that leads to better concentration and focus. The standing desks have bars, and she has the bouncy bands as well because they are meant for these purposes. If you have any free time during lunch, visit B157 because you will not regret it!

Mrs. McCabe would like to sincerely thank the Chatham Education Foundation for supporting grants that have allowed her to reimagine what the classroom could look like with flexible furniture. She would also like to thank Dr. LaSusa, Mr. Groh, and Ms. Rocco for their support and for creating a culture where teachers can take risks like this.