I took the leap and implemented flexible seating in my classroom this year!
Here are the things that I LOVE and the things I DON'T LOVE about it.....
LOVEStudents have the opportunity to make decisions about where they sit. This helps them learn about making good choices, being responsible, and taking charge of their own learning.
Many seating options, including yoga ball chairs, wobble stools, flex bands, seat cushions, bean bags, camp chairs, and even working on the floor, are available to my students. They can work in a place where they are comfortable!
If a student is having a conflict with the person sitting by them....they can get up and move away! I can't tell you how this has simplified things!
Students always have the choice to work next to someone or by themselves in a quiet area. I have a class set of study carrels, which easily turns any spot into a private "office."
I am able to arrange my classroom in a much more visually pleasing arrangement that is also more spread out. This has given our classroom an amazing feeling of open space and makes things a bit quieter (because the kids are spread out around the room).
The kids LOVE it and surprisingly, the parents do too!
DON'T LOVEIt is very, very difficult to pass out papers when students are not in the classroom (since they don't have a desk of their own). I have come up with a system that works for me to resolve this issue, but it is still kind of a pain.
We have to use storage bins and cubbies for keeping student supplies and materials. It works...but is not as convenient as having a desk or chair pocket right on hand. Students are forever having to go get something out of their bin...which takes up more time than I would like.
Most of our whole group lessons must take place on the floor. There are some benefits to this (students are in close proximity to me when I'm teaching), but during longer lessons, students can become fidgety and uncomfortable. Also, being on the floor makes it difficult to use manipulatives for math. We have made this work, but I can see how it would be difficult for some (more challenging) groups of students. Students do have assigned floor spaces, which helps a lot!
Substitute teachers DO NOT understand or enjoy flexible seating!
Some students clique together and have to be strongly encouraged to sit with new friends every once in a while. This is currently a real issue in my class. We are planning a class meeting to come up with some solutions!
Although we have many, many different and appealing seat choices, students still argue over the BEST ones (i.e., the wobble stools and yoga ball chairs). I had to implement a VIP seating schedule for our comfy camp chairs and Big Joe bean bags!
I really, really like flexible seating! It works great with my class this year and I think it has gone a long way to help us to create a very special sense of community in our classroom!
I would not say that it is for every teacher or every class. It takes EXTREME organization and planning, not to mention $$. Also, some classes just need more structure and flexible seating is the opposite of structured! It could be a disaster for a classroom full of students that struggle with listening, following directions and getting along with one another.
I would love to answer any questions that you have about flexible seating! Thanks for visiting!