Lately I have found my happy place to be the back corner of our local coffee shop. I grab a coffee, pull out my computer and headphones, and engage in reading, writing, researching, or online PD. Friends from town wave as they grab their morning coffee, and I smile and continue to work. I have found a good-fit work space for me.
I like this area because the sun doesn’t shine directly on my screen, the heat vent is the perfect distance away, I am near a plug-in if I need one, and I can see all the activity in the shop if I wish or change sides and face the wall on days the business is distracting. When my table is taken, I adjust, and after trying different locations I know where I work best and where I don’t. I know myself as a learner and what aids in my productivity, and I use this information to select a good-fit spot for me.
This is our goal when we teach children to select a work space that is a good fit for them. We think aloud about comfort, noise, distractions, and lighting as we model choosing a good-fit work space. Then we ask children to look around the classroom and consider some spaces they think might be good-fit work spaces for them. We remind them that it is good to have a few locations to choose from because sometimes their first choice may be taken by another student and they will need to adjust. And, knowing what works and what doesn’t is very helpful in making that decision.
Having the freedom to choose allows us to focus on how to choose. It allows us to think of ourselves as readers and writers and tune in to what increases our productivity. As adults we have this choice, and when we teach and provide our students with work-space choice, they too can tune in to what helps them be successful. It all starts with the questions: Where do you work best? And, Why?