Flexible Seating

What is flexible seating? 
Flexible seating is giving students the opportunity and choice to sit where they learn best. Some examples of seats include: pillow seats, standing table, hoki stools, crate seats, stability balls, and more! 

I was inspired by other educators who had implemented flexible seating in their classroom. I was so excited to change the atmosphere of our room and give more responsibility to the students. I just want to take the time to lay out how we first implemented this change! 

We started flexible seating the Monday after Spring Break (a week ago). Students came in and unpacked at the table they were at the week before. During our morning meeting we talked about how the room looked different. We discussed each seat and the correct way to sit/stand at each table. Students modeled the right and wrong way and together we wrote down the expectations for each spot. As a class we completed a chart that is up in our classroom now. 

Each day of the first week students tested out a new seat. They were expected to try out each table and stay at that table for the entire day. Because there were only 4 different choices, on Friday students were able to choose their spot during the day. I had read a few different blogs about whether or not to have students change their spots within the same day. Considering different options, I decided to let students change their seat during the day. I was so surprised at how students went to certain seats for particular activities. This was definitely a good choice for our class. 

One question that I was asked before starting is, "What about kids fighting about what seat to sit in?" This is something that is going to vary on the kiddos in your room and honestly one that I was a bit nervous about. However, I let each one of my kiddos know the expectation. Sometimes in the real world we will want things that we can't have right away. You have to be a problem solver and figure out another option. If someone is at a seat that you want to sit in, then politely go to another seat and return to that seat later in the day. If students fight and argue over a seat, then they will no longer have choice and will have to sit where the teacher says.

When I asked the class why they thought that I had made the change, they responded with "Because we were being good". I was very surprised by their response. Education is changing and the atmosphere at school is changing... for the better! For the first 4 years of my career I have believed that everything needed to be completely structured by the teacher. The room should be quiet and students need to sit still. But why? Why are students expected to sit still? Why are students expected to work quietly? This has been a very liberating change for myself and my students. Students are now encouraged to get their book box and read in a spot that is comfortable to them. Students have different learning styles and it is my job as their teacher to help them reach their potential. During the week I have seen a variety of places that students have gone to learn and they are REALLY WORKING! In just a week I have noticed a big change in my room. I have noticed that students are becoming more responsible for themselves and their choices. 

Before I share some pictures of what our classroom looks like, I want to break down what we currently have. Right now the classroom has 5 student tables. One table has been raised using bed risers (purchased from ebay for $10). This allows students to stand and move while working. Another table has crate seats. These are basic crates that I have taken and added a wood top and cushion then covered with fabric. Two tables have been lowered and have pillow cushions that students sit on. This option gives students the most flexibility because they can sit on their bottom, knees, legs out/in, etc. The pillows were purchased from ebay at about $5 a piece. The last table has 2 hoki stools and 2 metal chairs that originally made up the seating. The hoki stools were already purchased from the school and provided from our very supportive principal. Other options that kiddos have are a big pink chair that I previously had and 4 bath mats that I purchased from Target for $14 a piece. 

Now that you know the in's and out's of starting a classroom with flexible seating, check out our seats in action!! 

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