By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The collaboration between a Minnesota teacher and a parent helped an entire school go back to learning in person this fall.

When Prairie Creek Community School teacher Michelle Martin took a look at her classroom, she was concerned about fitting 20 kids inside for their hybrid model.

“We spent the entire summer just doing all the plans for the three different scenarios and making sure that we were ready to step and go,” Martin said. “How do we get 6-feet apart? And we don’t have big classrooms. I had room for five kids in my classroom with the current furniture because I had tables.”

Martin envisioned a smaller, more portable option for her students at the Northfield school.

“We needed a place for kids to be anchored and for kids to be learning in,” Martin said.

She reached out to a parent at the school, Matt Eastvold, owner of Eastvold Furniture. Martin asked for a design that could be both a portable desk and a stool for outdoor learning.

“I was excited because I wanted them to have a successful school year, and this is one more way to have that happen,” Eastvold said.

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They came up with a lightweight plywood desk that doubles as a stool, and could easily be carried. Other educators at the school caught word of Martin’s classroom project and asked if the portable desks could be made for the entire school.

Volunteers helped assemble 180 of the mini desks, which still are without a name.

“Now they have this new tool that we can use in a fun way, and there’s no compromise,” Martin said. “They just feel really excited to be here and to be learning.”

The students are using the desks outside through the month of October, and then will bring them indoors for the winter months.

Click here for more information on these mini desks.

Kate Raddatz

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