Movement Is A Must
The biggest takeaway I learned from implementing flexible seating is the difference it’s made for my students. I teach first graders and have for years. They’re young. They need to move. It’s actually pretty ridiculous for them to be expected to sit at a desk all day long. I’m way older than them and even I know I couldn’t do that! However, I remember being driven crazy by the fact that students would tip in their chair or sit on their knees and fall out of chairs. What I wasn’t recognizing was that they needed that movement.
Since implementing flexible seating, I’ve seen a HUGE decrease in students needing to get those wiggles out during direction. Why? Because they are able to do it throughout the day while they’re working. Students can bounce on yoga balls if they need it, some may decide they do better standing or maybe they notice they really enjoy a regular desk. The best part of flexible seating is that students get to choose what works best for them. Even with them being young, they really are able to rise to the challenge and choose what works. I can confidently say I witnessed 6 year olds who knew what seat worked best for them and what types of seating did not. Here’s one of my favorite clips of them working!
Taking The Plunge
When I decided to take the plunge into flexible seating, I went all in. I did all the research I could and it turns out there isn’t that much. I went to multiple places to find different cheap seating options. I created multiple Donors Choose projects to help me fund it. When I had all of my seating options, I was extremely nervous and wasn’t sure how it would work, or if it even would work. All I knew is that I wanted to start, my intentions were to impact my students, and I knew I’d learn a lot from my mistakes. Check out this blog to read all about my challenges and how to successfully set up flexible seating in your classroom with this blog post HERE!
Is everyone’s experience going to be smooth sailing? No. Maybe you tried and it didn’t work out for your students. Remember that what works for one group of students may not work for another. During my first year with flexible seating I learned A LOT. There are things I did differently the next year, and new adjustments will likely have to happen each year for a new diverse group of kiddos to meet their needs. However, if you had a less than great experience, I would say reflect and retry it! And If you haven’t tried out flexible seating, I strongly encourage you to do so because it will change so much in your classroom and your students. If you’re fearful of the unknown like I was, check out my Beginning of the Year Survival Guide to learn about all the ins and outs of flexible seating, as well as how to successfully set up your classroom for a smooth sailing year.
Beginning of the Year Teacher Survival Guide
Trust the Process
After months of experience and us learning together, I will NEVER go back to “regular” seating. I think it is extremely important for students to have as much choice and voice in the classroom as possible. I believe flexible seating really helps provide that. It’s also a nice reminder to think that when we are working or reading as adults, we’re not always sitting at a desk. As I’m writing this now, I spend some time sitting on the couch, then move to a stool. I move and choose whatever makes me feel comfortable. Shouldn’t we provide the same opportunity for our students? After teaching students about all the different seating options, it was amazing to see how much their focus changed and their desire to complete their work increased.
One of the most important things I learned from flexible seating is that in order to help empower your littles to take ownership of their learning, you have to let go. I know as educators, and trust me I’m a total type A personality, it’s hard to let go of control, but amazing things can happen when you do. I also learned there’s not one right way to set up flexible seating. You simply have to do what works for you and your students! But of course I’m here to help you successfully set up flexible seating in your classroom with little to no stress. I have created some awesome resources to get you started in this overwhelming process to help get you started, including the flexible seating checklist! You can grab that FREE by subscribing below!
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The Ultimate Guide
When I was getting started with flexible seating, I felt so overwhelmed and lost. I had no idea where to start or what to look for. But have no fear! I’ve created this jam packed Flexible Seating Bundle so you don’t have to scramble for resources or put a modge podge of random things together. Instead, you’ll have EVERYTHING you need to begin flexible seating from DAY ONE with students! Included in the bundle you’ll find detailed lesson plans, parent information, editable anchor charts, and SO much more. Check it out HERE!
In addition to these resources, a lot of planning has to be put in place. From your classroom set up, to labeling all the things, and teaching expectations, there are so many things to think about. If you want to make sure you haven’t forgotten to think about a thing, head over and read THIS blog to get yourself super prepared!
I really hope you enjoyed learning more about how to successfully implement flexible seating in your classroom! Stuck on planning and want help? Please reach out and I’d be more than happy to help you plan through things! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! Not only will you get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Flexible Seating Setup Checklist FREEBIE! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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Thank you for sharing! I also teach first and I will be implementing flexible seating this year. I’m excited and nervous! I’m in the process making a clip chart for the students to choose their seat. How or what did you do on the first day of school. I’m still trying to figure out that part. How often do your students change seats?
Great question! Did you see my blog post from yesterday? I answered a ton of those kinds of questions!
I tried it last year. My problem was how to utilize seats. I tried turning tables… That became heard to keep up with…
I would start small and slowly build. I ditched some of the seats I had last year that didn’t work for our classroom. What other kind of seats did you have?