I scan the room and I can’t help but smile. Student are sitting at our low table illustrating vocabulary words softly talking, another student is standing and swinging her foot on the bar connected to the raised desk, and tucked into the cozy round chairs (so popular in our library section we had to make a rotation chart for who gets to use them) are two students hard at work. Everyone is working. Everyone is focused. Everyone is comfortable where they are.
Flexible seating has been evolving in my classroom since the day I was first hired. Starting with just some chair cushions if students wanted to sit on the floor, to the fully flexible options I have today, it was a 8 year journey. And honestly, I will never go back.
Of course I do have a few traditional desks in my classroom. Part of being a flexible seating classroom is offering something for everyone, and guess what, that includes regular desks! While for reading many students love to cozy up with a seat rocker, or snuggle in a bean bag, when we work on more challenging academics or paper and pencil work there are a few students that prefer to sit at a regular desk for those activities.
Taking the plunge to ditch the desks and go full flex with a variety of seating areas was a little intimidating, I’m not going to lie. Despite the fact that I have read countless educational articles, blog posts, and books that all support a flexible seating classroom I still was a bit hesitant to go full flex. I had a vision of what my classroom might look and sound like with all flexible seating, but would reality live up to my Instagram worthy ideas?
A thousand times, YES! Getting rid of (almost all) the desks and swapping them out for floor seating, low tables, single seating, small group seating, pair seating, so many different types of learning areas around the room has been a game changer. Students have more opportunities for collaboration, chances for movement, and take on full responsibility for where they learn.
Is my classroom a utopia? NO! Do I have to move students sometimes when they haven’t made the best seat choice, yes. Did I model, talk with students about each seating option, have them try out each one, and then collaborate about what was expected and unexpected seating in our room? Yes! Flexible seating in our classroom is ever evolving, but I wouldn’t change it for a traditional classroom set up.
Having said that, I know that flexible seating is not for everyone, but for me it is the perfect choice.
Do you use flexible seating in your classroom? If you do I’d love to hear what you love about flexible seating in the comments below!