Hello, friends! It’s been quite some time since my last post — but, I’m still here! I’ve been absolutely swamped this week, and I’m sure you feel my pain. I’ve hit the point in the semester, where I almost constantly feel like I’m behind on evaluating work and providing feedback, entering grades, averaging test scores … I’ll get it together soon, though! Today, I’m sharing some initial reflections from the first few weeks of offering a flexible seating environment in my classroom, and what I’m hoping to use in the future.
Just before the school year started, I was approved to purchase 6 “bungee chairs” for my classroom to provide a flexible seating option for my students. I was TOTALLY excited! The chairs arrived the day before school started and I came in on my optional workday to assemble the chairs and rearrange my classroom – I typically do not come to my classroom on that optional workday, and instead focus on mentally preparing myself for the upcoming school year, with rest, the TODAY Show, my recliner, and a latte. So … the fact that I willingly came into my classroom on that day is a testament to the level of PUMPED I was to have these chairs!
When students entered the classroom on the first day, I was standing outside my door (like I do every day) to greet them and totally expected to enter my classroom to an argument about who was going to sit in the chairs. Much to my surprise, all of my students were sitting in a chair at a table. As I began to explain our activity for that morning, I asked the students why they avoided sitting in the “comfies.” The overwhelming response was, “oh, we can use those?” I assumed that 1) my students would immediately know that the chairs were first come, first served, and 2) that they would all want to sit in the chairs!
Both of those assumptions were wrong. My students thought that the chairs were for something special – maybe they had to earn bonus points or reach a specific grade on an assessment before they could use the new chairs. I also thought that they would all love them. Many of my students, to my surprise, prefer to sit at a table in a traditional chair.
Another surprise about the comfy chairs – I haven’t had any discipline issues such as students falling asleep in the chairs because they’re so comfortable (seriously, I sat in one earlier today and could have taken a nap – that could be because I’m totally exhausted, but you get my point), or not focusing on their work.
All-in-all, I’m totally pumped about the flexible seating option and hope to offer additional opportunities for my students to learn in different seating areas. For example, over the next few years, I hope to add:
- Cafe-style seating like this
- Bar-height tables and stools
My 2nd-grade daughter is learning wonderfully in a flexible seating environment. She loves that she gets to pick where she sits each day and is learning that for some activities, she works better at a desk while during other lessons (or reading time) she’d rather be on a lounger or an exercise ball.
One concept about flexible seating, and about offering students choice in their learning in general, is that students can take more ownership and control over not only how they’re learning, but where they’re learning.
Do you use flexible seating in your classroom? I’d love to hear your examples and experience!