Flexible seating was a thing in my room before I knew it was called flexible seating. Providing students with choice of where and how they sit always seemed like a no brainer to me. I mean, I don’t like to sit on a hard chair all day, in fact I spend most of my day on my feet walking around, why would I think that my students want to sit static for hours on end?
In the last few years I have really ramped up my flexible seating options. Last year I wrote a DonorsChoose project that provided my students with six wiggle stools and adjustable stadium floor seating. What a game changer! You can read about my year with flexible seating by clicking here. With these options in the room, I was able to lower a table to offer floor seating. Overall with all the options, I saw students better able to focus as they sat and worked.
This year I am changing things up again. As a second grade teacher, the big thing for our grade is that students get their very first desk. Up until second grade students work at community tables. While I was eager to ditch the desks, I knew that wasn’t really an option as I would be crushing dreams. So as a compromise I came up with a solution that so far has been working well.
Each student this year instead of being assigned a desk, has been given a box top to use to store all their supplies. This box then can be easily moved each day to a “home base” desk with a seating option of their choice. We have only been back a few days but so far I am in love with this new set up!
We started this new system by talking about the different kinds of seats and the expectations for using flexible seating. I snagged the most amazing FREE flexible seating book, expectations poster and other goodies on TpT. The new twist this year was no one would be assigned a seat. After a year of rolling Yoga balls and moving stools all day every time someone wanted to make a switch, I had had enough. We were going to try something new. Move the students not the seats!
Students were each given a box top and a set of STEAM Challenge directions with some requirements for their personalized boxes. As duct tape master, I sat and cut endless strips of duct tape for eager students decorating, reenforcing and creating unique boxes for their supplies.
With boxes ready to go students picked seats and we began our first day with flexible seating. Each day for the next two days of school, students came in, sat at the carpet for morning meeting, and then picked a “home base” for the day.
It has been revealing for both myself and students. Already some students have told me they prefer one type of seating over another, saying they have a hard time concentrating using certain seats. Other students have set up their “home base” and then gone off to work at a low table or the high table, away from other students where they feel they can concentrate better.
Over the next few weeks it will be a lot of trial and error. Sometimes students will need some guidance to make the best seat choice. They will discover a favorite pace to work for different subjects. Through it all, students will be growing in independence and learning. I can’t wait to see where this flexible seating journey brings our class this year!