To be fair, I have taught with a flexible seating mind set long before I had all the goodies to make it a reality. It started small, letting students sit on the floor around the room, allowing students to find a place that felt right for working. Over time I bought seats, trays, the teepee and asked for tables to be lowered. I even wrote a donors choose project to fund more flexible seating choices for students.
I knew I couldn’t just throw all these options to students, so as any savvy teacher would do I went straight to teacherspayteachers.com and found the perfect product to help set expectations and teach students how to use the seats appropriately.
We made little books about seating.
We practiced sitting.
We talked some more.
We reflected on how and why certain seats were the best for each student.
We signed a contract to use seating appropriately.
And then it happened.
The first yoga ball was accidentally popped. NBD (no big deal) I thought. We had lost a yoga ball last year to an accidental pencil puncture. It happens.
And then a second one popped.
So I modeled some more. We talked some more. We all agreed to be more careful.
Then a third one, a fourth one, a fifth one, and finally a sixth yoga ball was accidentally popped.
Ummm, something wasn’t working. And it wasn’t the ball’s fault. Time to go back to basics. So, I exchanged my few remaining yoga balls with regular seats. We still had wiggle stools, floor seating and standing seating. There was plenty of choice, but for this group yoga balls would not be one of them, and that’s ok.
At first I felt so defeated. Was I not clear? Did I not model enough? What was I doing wrong? But then I stopped. Maybe yoga balls just weren’t a good fit for this group. It took me a while (six yoga balls to be exact) to come to terms that, yoga balls as a seating choice just wasn’t going to work, and that’s ok!
I still offer lots of choices in my flexible seating classroom. I am still a huge advocate for flexible seating. But how it looks in my classroom this year as opposed to last year is different, as it should be I since I have different students.
Sometimes though as I am sure happens to other teachers, I get caught up in trying to be a Pinterest worthy classroom. If I’m going to do flexible seating or anything else for that matter, you better believe I am going to do it 1,000%. And if I offer yoga balls from day one, how can I take them away? How? Take them out of the room. Duh, right! Well sometimes it takes a yoga ball or six popped to come to that conclusion.
I’m hoping to reintroduce yoga balls later this year when I feel as a class we are ready to use them. With time comes maturity and more self control. Hopefully we will be ready for yoga balls the next time around. But you better believe with the first pop of a ball the rest will be removed. It won’t take me six balls this time around to get the message.
Do you use flexible seating in your classroom? I’d love to hear what has worked or didn’t for you! Leave a comment below.