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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Joys of Flexible Seating

I have had a lot of questions about my classroom arrangement, seating, and management so I thought I'd write a blog post to share with everyone about it.
Okay everyone take a deep breath, I am about to say something crazy....ready?... I do not have a seating chart or assigned seating. BREATHE! It's okay. I haven't always been this way. I am now in my 10th year of teaching and up until 4 years ago my students had assigned seating, they stayed in their seats to work quietly, and there was a very rigid structure to it. I typically would assign partners for them to work with and groups for group projects. Then one summer I spent time reading other teacher blogs and articles about flexible seating and allowing students to move around more.

I will be totally honest with you. I was scared! I had to give up some of my control?! Are you serious?! Then I decided to just go for it. The outcome was amazing!!
In the four years I have had flexible seating I have only had one student who just couldn't focus. He got his own seat and each day I would ask him if he felt like he could work with a group. Some days he would say yes, other days he would say no. I still gave him the option and didn't keep him from having the opportunity. 
I like to look at my classroom now as organized, creative chaos. Ask my students what they like about my classroom and they will tell you that it's all the choices they get.
Instead of desks I have 8 tables and have acquired some big comfortable chairs from rooms being cleaned out on campus. I like to rearrange my classroom randomly because I get bored of the way it looks. At first, I wondered if this was too much for the students, but they always get excited when I rearrange things.
Most recently I received 4 bean bags, 2 camping chairs, 4 wobble cushions, and 2 fun teen chairs from a project that was funded through DonorsChoose.org. We have two black coffee tables to go with them. I then lowered one of my tables down to the lowest level, so that the students had more seating options. It's so much fun to come into class where it is a comfortable teaching and learning environment.


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