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Learning from Living in Small Quarters

Right now my husband and I are living in small quarters. 

I have one cubby for all my clothes.

A space to store our bedding is under one cushion.

One cubby for all dishes and pots and pans, and a college-size refrigerator to store groceries.

Now, I am not complaining. I love traveling in our tiny trailer and the more time I am in it, the better I get at keeping things organized.  I’ve got this handy-dandy caddy for utensils, a great little cabinet for the dish soap and clothespins. Most importantly, I’ve figured out how to keep our chocolate stash cool and within easy reach.

Living this tiny means that everything must have a place and be put back when you are done using it. It is the only way you can find what you need.  We have had a couple of cases of panic searching (car keys, camera batteries, etc.) and we have learned to put everything in its place.

All of this organization, has me questioning how I teach students to keep track of their things in the classroom.  In this time of COVID-19, there can’t be shared supplies, and kids now more than ever have to keep track of materials at home, materials at school, and transporting them from one environment to the other.  

I used to think that all classroom materials should be shared and I arranged my classroom that way.  Now, I am reconsidering that decision. Should some mark-making materials belong to each student and we should teach them to keep track of their things? Of course, when a student needs a pencil, I would simply hand her one, but I question whether all joint materials teach the organizational skills and self-sufficiency skills kids need to learn.  I don’t have an answer to this question, but I am pondering this.  

As we teach through this pandemic, I think as a profession we will learn a lot about how to build executive functioning skills.  As I travel in this “tiny” space, this is a question, I continue to ponder.

Happy Writing!

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13 thoughts on “Learning from Living in Small Quarters”

  1. The part about your chocolate stash made me smile and think of you! Thank you for sharing your journey and musings with us!

  2. I love the photos and invitations to peek into your tiny trailer adventures. I think there is something very satisfying knowing you have everything you need in a small, organized space and you can take it “on the road,” whether your a grown up on the road, or a kid trying to navigate her way through hybrid learning.

  3. Wow! That is tiny living! Kudos to you for managing in this space. You might be onto something with the shared supplies. We’ll have to see how this year shapes up with the restrictions.

  4. Like your little space! My husband and I always joked that when we retired we were buying a “silver bullet” and traveling. We’ll see!

    Suppplies and spaces have been such a big issue for us this year as well. For the first time, we have let kids carry backbacks to class to avoid going to lockers, and they seem to be much better at being prepared for class. Maybe there is a sliver lining in there somewhere??

  5. Oh, I love your tiny trailer and how it matches your car. I’m so impressed that all your clothes fit in that one little cubby. Lots to figure out in this new year of teaching protocols. I wonder if we’ll emerge stronger and more resilient. I’m thrilled that you solved the chocolate problem. Some things require prompt attention.

  6. I am impressed with your small quarters and your ability to live in that tiny space. I definitely like the idea of everything in its place. My students always said they liked my classroom over others they had because they knew where to find things and everything was organized.

  7. I have always been curious about travel in those adorable tiny spaces! I like the way you seek the universal lesson in the immediate moment. Great reflection and I think you are on to something about sharing the slow habit build of everything in its place.

  8. Since I retired I have been RV dreaming through many possibilities! One of my current choices is a 2021 Tab 320, an older model I think you have here. Fun to see how you manage. So any questions about teaching in these times. I appreciate your thoughtful considerations and am sure you will find your way.

  9. Living in a small space and with limited things can teach so many things. First of all that we don’t need much. And like you said, how we organise ourselves. May the time in a tiny trailer be a joyful one!

  10. What an adorable teardrop! I have to admit I hadn’t given much thought to teaching students to organize their supplies at home (we are full remote until late October here) until I saw a student on the other end of a Zoom meeting pull out her backpack. The image tugged at my heart and surprised me by making me a bit emotional–nostalgic is the best way I can describe the feeling. However, it prompted me to talk to students a bit about how to organize their materials. A backpack at home seemed like a splendid way to hold onto habits—although I have heard they may not be allowed to bring backpacks to school when we return. So much to think about!

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