I decided to give flexible seating a try in my classroom this year and I was pleasantly surprised at how much my kiddos and I both loved it!
I started out by having my students choose individual places to sit around the classroom during our Writer’s Workshop time. We kept that up for about 4 weeks, until they had the idea that they needed to choose wisely, sit away from someone they might talk with, and to sit an arms distance away from the next person.
We also used our flexible seating options during our Math and Literacy Work Stations. The children could choose to sit in the chairs as usual, or bring some flexible seating to their work area.
The quality and quantity of work that my students produced went up during this month, so I decided that I would present them with other options to sit on.
I introduced each type of new seating individually, waiting a few days in between until the newness had worn off. We modeled how to correctly sit in each seating choice and how and when to put it back when we were done sitting in it.
By the time we were done introducing each new type of seating, my students had these choices to choose from:
8 Scoop Chairs (Wal-Mart)
4 Chair Cushions (Wal-Mart-patio section)
2 Camp Chairs (5 Below)
2 Memory Foam Mats (5 Below)
4 Rectangular Bath Mats (Wal-Mart)
3 Adirondack Chairs (Wal-Mart)
4 Outdoor Pillows (Aldi)
6 Wobble Seats (Debbie Clement–www.wobbleseat.com)
If you’re going to try introducing Flexible Seating into your classroom next year, here are a few tips to help you.
- Introduce the options over time; weeks even! It will take time for your students to learn how to use each option and how to put them away. Make sure you model the right way to use them, carry them, and how and where to put them away.
- Make sure you have a class set of clipboards or sturdy writing boards your students can use to finish their work on. My students made three stops to collect everything they needed; their seat, their clipboard, and their work.
- Show your students how to choose wisely when trying to find a place to sit. Sit near someone you will not talk to, and sit an arms distance away. They will still be near enough to ask for help from each other, but far enough away to not chat so much.
- Don’t give up! It will take time for you (and them) to learn to manage the responsibility of choosing their own seating!
Next year, I’m going to add in some standing height tables and some floor sitting height tables (by raising or lowering the legs on my existing tables). I still want to keep 1-2 tables as is, for my students who prefer that as well. I’ll be posting pictures as I make that move in late July!