LEWISTON — There’s another type of ballot counting going on — in addition to the 2nd Congressional District contest between Bruce Poliquin and Jared Golden — for what kind of cool furniture should be in the new Connors Elementary School, scheduled to open in August.

New styles of learning and new styles of furniture will mean the new school’s classrooms will look different.

The Lewiston School Department held a “furniture fair” at Longley Elementary School on Nov. 8 inviting students, staff and members of the public to vote on what kind of furniture the school should have.

The ballots are being counted, Webster said on Monday, adding that about 1,000 people, including students and staff of Longley and Martel elementary schools, voted.

“It will be interesting to see what the results are,” Webster said. The results are expected to be known later this week.

The new school’s furniture and classrooms will be a departure from classrooms designed just 10 years ago, he said.

Just as teaching has changed, school furniture has changed.

The norm used to be teachers spent most of their day lecturing in front of the class. Now that happens only a minority of the day, Webster said.

More often students work in groups, and teachers go from one group of students to another. The new furniture will reflect new learning styles, he said, with different types of chairs, desks and even stools that will be easy to move around.

There won’t be just one type of furniture, there’ll be different types for different students.

For instance, there are new stools for students who require them to maintain their balance while doing school work, which could be beneficial for students who are fidgety or have trouble sitting still for any length of time. The new types of furniture will better facilitate student learning, Webster said.

“I don’t expect any of the classrooms in Connors to be desks and chairs all lined up,” Webster said.

CFW Architects are overseeing the new school’s furniture design.

The furniture election will provide input into furniture selection, but won’t be the deciding factor.

New furniture must be approved by the Maine Department of Education, which has oversight on the new school spending, since the school is being paid for by the state.

Once the furniture is approved by the state, the plan is to place the order by or in January, Webster said. 

— Bonnie Washuk

It’s not Christmas time yet!

Last year we published a story about a British psychologist therapist Linda Blair cautioning that too much Christmas music played too early can lead to Christmas music fatigue and be bad for mental health.

It can make lots of us unhappy during the holiday season. That’s the thing, it’s NOT the season, not yet.

But on Saturday, Nov. 10, while shopping in a large retail store they played non-stop Christmas songs! I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I felt bad for the retail workers who were tied to their cash registers and had to endure it.

Then while driving to work Monday, Nov. 12, I heard “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and “Joy to the World” and more on the radio. Instead of bringing me cheer, it made me grimace. It made me groan. I changed the station.

Christmas music is nice, but not when played publicly non-stop in November.

Thanksgiving is early this year, which means an early Black Friday and longer Christmas shopping season. But Thanksgiving is still more than a week away. Give us time to reflect on Thanksgiving and being thankful for all we have before we’re supposed to get out there and get more stuff.

If this trend keeps going, the Christmas season will become longer than the Maine summer. 

— Bonnie Washuk

A “furniture fair” was held Nov. 8 at Longley Elementary School asking the public to vote for their favorite classroom furniture, like stools that allow students to move while working. The school will offer new kinds of furniture to reflect new learning styles, said Superintendent Bill Webster. (Submitted photo) 


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