Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Flexible Seating Accountability

So, one thing that I found tricky last year, when I piloted small-scale flexible seating in my classroom was accountability. Students would flip-flop seats; they would switch when students were out of the room for interventions or even the bathroom. When tardy students came in, they didn't know which seats were truly open, and which were temporarily vacated. It was tricky!!

Then I would have students who (for a short period of time) would lose the opportunity to choose their seat due to lack of responsibility. I wanted to place that particular student in an assigned seat, but it was difficult to do that without doing that in front of other students, which often embarrassed that student. I wanted a discreet way to place that student in an assigned seat.

I racked my brain ... how could I fix this problem??!! I read a TON of blog posts and articles about flexible seating... Then I stumbled upon an old blog post by Literacy Loves Company. In her post on Flexible Seating, she discusses her journey towards flexible seating, some of the specific seating options she uses, AS WELL AS how her students clearly choose their seat.

Be sure to check out her blog post (my inspiration) for these awesome table signs!!

This would fix my problem with seating accountability!! I decided to alter Literacy Loves Company's idea to fit my classroom!

Basically... there is a table sign on each table that is open for students to choose. This is simply a printed sign that is in a clear, plastic picture frame (I got these 5x7 frames at Walmart for 97 cents a piece!!). Each table is named - I decided to use shapes for my first graders; hopefully this will help solidify shape names and attributes for my kiddos.

Also on the table sign are six colored squares. These six squares correspond with the six available seats at that table. Students will have a clothespin with their name on it; this will be kept in their personal book bin, when not in use. In the morning, students will get their clothespin and clip it onto the table sign of the table that they would like to sit at. If I am selecting a seat for a student, I would simply let them know that I put their clothespin at a table.

SO! What do you think? Would this idea work for you and your classroom? Do you have a different idea to keep students accountable and responsible for their seat choices? What are your thoughts on flexible seating?! Thanks for reading!! :) 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Classroom seating!!

I am SO excited for some big changes in my classroom this year! We am going to be doing flexible, alternative seating. I tried out some ideas last year, and it worked so well with my kiddos, that I'm jumping in with both feet!

My students do not start until after Labor Day so I've got a ton of time, but I have been shopping around and pinterest-ing all summer to find some really cool stuff for my students.

I'll do a classroom reveal once it's all ready but here are some things that I am just too excited about that I have to share.

Last year, I crammed 32 desks into my room. Now my room is a decent size, but when you add in all the STUFF that we need for learning there is no space for 32 desks and chairs (not to mention a meeting space, guided reading table, library, coat rack, etc, etc, etc...?). This year, I'm using tables!! I've got six student tables, plus a four "islands". I've found that some students *need* an island every now and again!

Each day, my students will come in and choose a seat. There are a ton of different options, my hope is that they learn what kind of seat really works for them!! At the beginning of the year, I'll have their name tag in a spot each morning, this way they get a chance to try out all the different seats at all the different tables. It's a lot of teaching procedures and expectations, but SO worth it!!

Below is a breakdown of how my tables will work...

One table is a long dining room table that the legs have been shortened on. It will fit six students in regular chairs.

One table will be lowered almost all the way. Students will sit on wobble stools (These are sooo cool - wobble stool) or an upside-down crate with a pillow on top. The wobble stools are on loan from my district. They are pricey but so worth it. I've heard a lot of teachers get these with grant money!!

One table will be lowered most of the way and six students will sit on balls! I have been looking for cheap exercise balls, but they are so pricey. I found some very cheap, perfectly sized balls at Walmart. I'm going to try these out before I invest too much money into this idea!

One table is raised higher. It is our stand-up table. Students who want to stand while they work can go here. Only about 4 kids fit at this table.

The last two tables are so cool. I took extendable part of the leg off completely and covered the part that remains with a tennis ball. Students who want to sit here can sit on a cushion (very cool fruit cushions from 5 Below) or a Dollar Tree placemat (basically a place-marker for their bottom).


The other thing that I've found (for kiddos that need to move) is an exercise band tied around the chair legs. I found this long 6' one for $5 at Walmart, but cut it in two pieces! So two "Foot Bands" for $2.50 a piece, not bad!!


What are your great classroom seating ideas?? Are you trying out flexible seating this year, or have you done it in the past? Any advice? :)  I love comments!!

**Tomorrow I'll post about how I plan to hold students accountable for their seat choice!**