Whew, we all survived the first few days of a new school year! It has been a great start to a new year in a new grade thanks in part to flexible seating. Although it has only been a few days, flexible seating is proving to be the best thing I could have done in my classroom! Students are engaged, working, and seem happy with the flexibility and responsibility of picking how and where they sit.
After practicing using different seats, I thought it would be fun to graph what students think about their choices so far. After our morning meeting, students tallied next to their favorite seating style.
Then we took the tallies and turned that information into a graph to see which seating style is most popular so far. The results? The wobble stools are the BIG winner!
This matches what I am seeing in the classroom when students are working. Students definitely gravitate toward the wobble stools. With more students than stools, I am impressed at how well students share the stools.
Since it has only been a couple of days, for right now students are able to switch their seat in the middle of independent work if they find that they are not comfortable with the seat they picked. It is all a learning process for them and for me! Right now all the seats are new, exciting and everyone is still trying to figure out what works best for them. After we return from our long weekend students will be expected to work with the seat they pick during independent work time without switching. They will still have the opportunity to change seats from activity to activity, but not in the middle of a lesson, or independent work time.
I know many people might have questions about how students decide who get which seats. As of right now, each time we get ready to start a new activity I call different groups of students to pick a seat. I make sure to change the order of students called for each activity so everyone can get a first choice pick throughout the day. So far, so good! We haven’t had too many complaints of not getting the seat someone was hoping for. Students are also realizing that while they might not get their first pick right now, they might get it later for another activity. As the year progresses I might find I need to change how we do this, but for now it is a system that works for us. I am SO THRILLED I decided to incorporate flexible seating into the classroom. Even though I didn’t go full force and ditch student desks, I am loving the flexible seating options for my students.
There are of course some areas of improvement. Like what to do with all those pesky chairs when students decide to swap a regular seat for a flexible option? The stools are an easy switch. Students replace a stool with their own chair at the table where stools are kept. They yoga balls though are proving to be a bit more difficult. I haven’t found a good system yet of where to put the chairs being replaced by a yoga ball at a desk. There is also the sometimes tricky task of finding a right spot for the Fatboy beanbag chair. It takes up quite a bit of space and I don’t feel I have found the right home for it yet. These are some things to ponder. I’m sure we will come up with a solution.
I’d love to hear from those of you that use flexible seating in your classroom! What seats or work areas are you loving? Do you have any great ideas for swapping extra seats? What about seat choice, have you found a management system that you can’t imagine living without? Leave a comment on the blog with any ideas or helpful tips!