Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Flexible Seating in the Classroom

Hi!  It's Aimee from Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks. This year I began my 22nd year teaching!  Crazy!!  Even after 21 years of teaching, I am still looking for ways to improve my classroom environment.  This summer I did lots of research on flexible seating.  I know that I want to be comfortable when I'm reading a good book, writing lesson plans, or working on a new product, so why wouldn't my students want to be comfortable when they're working in the classroom.  We've been in school for 24 days now, and I can't believe the difference flexible seating has made!  I wish I would have offered flexible seating options years ago.  Students are happy doing their work or collaborating.  Believe it or not, flexible seating has made a huge difference with the off task talking during work time.  It's amazing!

In my classroom, my students still have a desk (many flexible seating classrooms do not have assigned seating).  I wasn't ready to completely give up individual desks.  I felt it was important that students have a "home base" during the day.  This gave me the option of returning students to their seats, and also gave those students who like the comfort of a chair and hard surface the option.  Besides their desks, students have many other areas where they can work.  Here are some photographs from the flexible seating arrangements in my classroom...
My students love the trampoline chairs!  If I had more room, I would have several more of them.  I also have two free standing stability balls that can be moved to any area in the room.

 This area is a favorite of the girls!  They bring their work to the lowered table and relax on the cushions.

 I also have a desk with two stability balls.  This area is great for students who can't sit still for long periods of time.

 My classroom library has many seating options.  I've had the two chairs from IKEA for several years, but this year I added the wooden bench.  I found the coffee table at Goodwill and spray painted it to match my room.  Students like to sit on the floor and work here.  I also have several pillows that students can take to any area in the room.

I love my row of milk crate seats!  Students can sit or lie down while working.

t's been lots of fun coming up with new areas for students to sit.  If you do flexible seating in your classroom, I would love to hear from you!!  I'm always up for suggestions!





27 comments:

  1. I'm starting to think about what kinds of flexible seating I want to have in my room next year. This year I'm sticking with what I have! Your blog post was really helpful. Thanks!
    Jan
    Laughter and Consistency

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  2. Last week I started letting students bring alternate seating to the room. Several have brought in bean bag chairs. Even my students that are always off task seem to be more engaged now!

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  4. I love the milk crate seats. How did you make them?
    Thanks,
    Beth

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    1. Beth,
      I measured the opening to my crates then purchased a large piece of wood at Lowes. They cut the wood into individual pieces for my crates. I put poly foam on top of the wood before covering with fabric. I stapled the fabric to the underneath side of the wood. I also stapled a ribbon loop on the under side of each piece of wood. This makes it easier to lift the seat and use the crate for storage. Hope this helps!
      Aimee

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  5. How do you keep the pillows clean?

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    1. Andrea,
      I sprayed the pillows with Scotchgard before using. Some of my pillow covers are removable and can be washed.
      Aimee

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  6. Do you have rules for using the flexible seating?

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  7. Hi. I started this last week. I have a very challanging class so i figured why now... I cant get harder. Lol.
    Well... They are doing really good. Of course i still have a few that will continue to challange me but overall... Its working well. Im thinking of starting out next year doing this!

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  8. Your room is beautiful! I am inspired by the wonderful atmosphere you have created not only with the great seating options, but the plants, lamps, and color.

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  9. Does the Scotchgard protect from bathroom accidents? I had a little girl this year have accidents consistently and had one on my crate seats. I wonder how hard it would be to do them in faux leather?

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    1. I think it would protect it...let us know!
      Thanks!

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    2. I covered mine with clear PVC that I got from JoAnns. I had to replace it at the end of the year, but it was cheap protection and could be patched when necessary throughout the year with clear tape.

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    3. I covered mine with clear PVC that I got from JoAnns. I had to replace it at the end of the year, but it was cheap protection and could be patched when necessary throughout the year with clear tape.

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  10. I totally agree about the "home base" using desks. Students still need to know that their desk is their own place to come back to. I think it provides security. I am adding more flexible seating this year. I am in my 30th year of teaching. I love doing new things.

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  11. I had flexible seating in my class this year. The students loved it. They could choose to stand, sit in chairs or sit on bean bags or lay on the floor.
    Using clip boards really helped give the students a place to keep their work together.
    As long as they made good choices, I let them choose where they sit. If they did not make good choices (working quietly or staying on-task) then I choose where they sit.
    I loved having the motivation/consequences directly built in to the seating.

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  12. How do you introduce this seating option in your classroom to your students? What rules or expectations are set in place? I'd appreciate your response!!

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  13. How do you introduce this seating option in your classroom to your students? What rules or expectations are set in place? I'd appreciate your response!!

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    1. Hi Emily,
      Aimee is taking a break from Who's Who this year. I would probably allow the kids to sit where it was easy for them to work, but they would need to make smart choices to continue to sit where they want. Let us know how it goes for you!
      Hilary

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  14. Thank you for sharing the flexible seating in your classroom. Where did you find the coloured crates? I would like to make the crate seating for my class. Thank you.

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    1. You can get crates at stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Meijer, etc. Good luck!
      Hilary

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  15. Thanks for sharing. In the first picture, what do you have your stability balls on, so that they are not rolling all over the place when no one is on them? Thanks!!!!

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    1. I wanted to know the same thing! :)

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    2. The teacher next door to me at school uses bike tires. Works well for her! Thanks for stopping by! Hilary

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  16. Thanks for sharing. In the first picture, what do you have your stability balls on, so that they are not rolling all over the place when no one is on them? Thanks!!!!

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  17. I just completed converting my classroom to flexible seating! I hope my students like it. Lots of colors, rugs, pillows, neat chairs, a cool table with fun colorful chairs etc...

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