Flexible Seating ~ it's not for everyone

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

flexible seating in the primary classroom

Welcome to my  weekly:

It's back to school time & that means my Wait for it Wednesdays blog posts are BACK!!!!  I love the Back to School energy and meeting my new group as well as seeing my big kids that I've taught over the years.  It just makes my heart so happy!
This is my second year with a pirate theme and my first year trying out flexible seating!  
What exactly is flexible seating and what can a 21st century classroom look like?
Well think about how you best read/learn or study?  I know that my 2 teenagers ( that happen to be straight A students ) work best sitting on their bed or couch with a lap desk and a pillow.  I like to be propped up with a pillow behind me or in an over sized comfy chair.  Why not create a classroom with those options?  Flexible seating is an arrangement that a teacher creates to give his/her students freedom of choice for where they learn or work best.

My flexible seating includes:
* a standing table
* kneeling pads/pillows on a lowered table
* regular/ traditional seating
* gamer chairs
* arm pillow chairs
* stools

I will tell you my students LOVE flexible seating!!!  I am learning to love it.  Just keeping it real here...I am a 23 year veteran and I feel like a new teacher this year.  Many of my management 'tricks' from the past don't work in this new environment so I've had to be extra creative.
For instance:
Table Points ~ yeah ~ those don't work anymore unfortunately.  I love table points. :o(  My students don't sit at the same table/spot all day so table points won't work.  Also not all kids are sitting at tables.
Rules  ~ Some of my rules have had to change.  My students don't have desks anymore so there's a bit more movement than I'm use to...and that's okay.  It's just wrapping my brain around all the extra movement has been a little challenging.
Having no desks has been different for sure.  My students now have cubbies which is fine but they need to get UP to grab their math books or their journals throughout the day...in the past they have just pulled them out of their desks.
What I'm observing:   My students are engaged, moving freely in their space, taking ownership of their learning, having more freedom of choice during their day and collaborating more freely.
Raise your hand if you are a teeny, tiny bit controlling ~ if your hand wasn't raised I don't believe you. Teachers are by nature a little bit controlling to some degree right?!?  Well I've released some of the control and they have certainly gained some.  But, I'm realizing that with the freedom of choice some of my behaviors that I normally see popping up have tapered down a bit.  Maybe not having a teacher breathing down their neck  guiding them along is actually beneficial...they are taking ownership of their learning.  I've seen just in the last week kids get up and find a new learning space.  They thought something would work for them but realized 5 minutes in that it wasn't for them.  I LOVE this!  They are realizing at the age of 8 how they best learn.  How great is that?!?!

Here are some pictures of my classroom: 

pictures from my flexible seating classroom, lowered tables, standing tables, hooki stools and yoga balls.

flexible seating in the primary classroom

flexible seating ideas on design, ikea and furniture tips as well as management ideas

You can see a facebook live video of my classroom tour on my facebook page if you'd like a closer look:  https://www.facebook.com/teachingandmuchmoore/

Now ~ ~ ~ flexible seating is NOT for everyone!  I've read several posts that mention it's a fad or teachers are jumping on bandwagons.  That's fine, but I had to try it and I'm glad I did.  There needs to be a definite strong management style with this so kids are very CLEAR on your expectations but it can be done.  I will post another time on just how I do manage it but for now I wanted to leave you with some thoughts on the first few days and what I'm learning about it.  Who said teachers aren't always learners...I love that I'm learning and growing everyday with my awesome third graders!!


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your honest reflections Vicki! I am pondering the idea but not quite there yet. You are amazing to step into a zone where you might need to learn some new tricks and feel uncomfortable...good job girl! :)

    1. Thanks Christina - as each week passes I'm more and more comfortable with it, and very glad I made the switch. :o) xo

  2. I SO want to try this!!! My issue is that there is no where for me to put cubbies for my homeroom students' stuff! They hang their coats on a coat rack in the classroom. I have no other wall to put cubbies on for their stuff. So frustrating! Wish they had lockers!