This year I needed a change in my classroom. Flexible Seating has been on my radar for the last couple of years but it really is overwhelming so I just put it off. I started using flexible seating on day one and…..that may have been a good thing, but I think may have had some negative repercussions.
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I wrote a blog post at the beginning of the year with all my details of how I was rolling out flexible seating, what I was using, and what issues I was having. We’re half way through the year (Say WHAAAT?!?) and I wanted to do a little update on what is going well with flexible seating and what I am still struggling with.
Currently I am using yoga balls, lap desks, cushions and clipboards, lowered desks, and standing desks as options for kids to sit. You can click any of those links to see which ones I am using specifically!
Flexible Seating Struggles
The first problem I encountered with flexible seating was how to manage all of their materials. I finally figured out that the students sitting at actual desks could use their cubbies just like in years past. But my table group that sits at a lower table, I had trouble figuring out how to store their materials.
I tried using one of these hanging file folder things and it broke within like twenty four minutes….
I finally settled on a milk crate with hanging file folders for each kid. I put a piece of tape on each folder (four green and four purple, four for each color group I have) and numbered them 1-4. This way students could easily see their materials
The other biggie I am dealing with right now is kids making a choice on where to sit. They either just want to sit with their BFF or want to sit in the same spot. The yoga balls are the favorite and everyone wants those. (AND THEY ARE SO DAMN LOUD!)
The third problem I encountered was how to handle testing. Because my desks serve as their “home spots,” I had kids sit in them for testing. But this meant a table of four was standing the whole time and a table of four was sitting on the ground. I let the lowered table sit at my u-table but the standing table was still standing and maybe that wasn’t the best situation for them.
Flexible Seating Plan for Spring
The great thing about teaching is you get to “start over” a lot. We just got out for a two week break! When we come back, I have to reestablish routines and expectations so it’s the perfect time to revamp my flexible seating situation.
I took my problems to pinterest and, of course, found a plethora of ideas within a matter of minutes and I feel like I finally have a plan of how to move forward.
My first step is to have a class meeting about flexible seating. I want to talk about what the purpose of it is and the benefits of each of the seating arrangements. An anchor chart detailing the expectations and the choices we have in flexible seating will be a great way to document our meeting. I got this idea from reading about Ashley’s experience with flexible seating on her blog, Teach Create Motivate blog.
The next step is to create a choice board for flexible seating options. Currently each morning is a free for all and kids choose the same spots over and over. So instead, I want to try a management board like the one Dianna at Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching. Each morning she has her kids use a magnet with their number on it to show which seating option they are using for the day. However, she goes through her roster each week and each week a new student gets to be the first to pick their spot- this ensures that each kid always gets their “top choice” in flexible seating every few weeks.
I would also love to change up my seating options and add some more flexible seating options, but right now it isn’t feasible economically. So this Christmas break I will be hitting up garage sales and online facebook groups looking for some alternative seating options- even if it is just one or two small items!
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Until next time,