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A Journey Into Flexible Seating

Hi everyone! I'm sure by now you have read many posts and seen many Instagram photos about flexible seating. This past school year, I really started thinking about how flexible seating would work in my classroom and if flexible seating was really even possible.

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

I had been reading some of the great blog posts out there, such as this one from Kayla at Top Dog Teaching {here} and even a blog post from Kayla's principal {here}. Lucky Little Learners {here} has a great FAQ about how flexible seating works in her classroom, and I used a very similar anchor chart when I first introduced flexible seating with my students.

We started the year off with this set-up.

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

After all of my reading, I stayed late the last day before Christmas break and completely rearranged my classroom. Who does that? I was determined to make it work though and wanted a fresh start in January. My students walked into this after their return from Christmas break.

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom
Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

Since I was teaching a resource room, my students were already used to sharing community supplies. I kept their pencils, crayons, and scissors in blue baskets. What I found so funny is that my students basically just sat in the same spot as where their desk had been previously.




The standing desks were a huge hit and one of the most used spots this school year. I had several students who were ADHD and extremely energetic. These were fabulous for those students, and I noticed that they typically chose them on their own as a working space.

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

Along the way, I wrote a Donors Choose project for 8 stability balls and was fortunate enough to have it funded pretty quickly.

Flexible Seating in a First Grade ClassroomI also lowered a circle table and pulled out my crate seats. For testing, I just told my students to find a good place for them to work and grab the dividers (manila folders laminated together).

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom



I used this front carpet for any whole group instruction that required modeling with the document camera. My students were already used to using clipboards, so this wasn't a new skill for them. However, I quickly realized that stepping over students as I was going back and forth from my document camera to the board was not a good choice.

Which lead me to buying another rug from Target, and I came up with this set-up. My rule for students was that your body must be on one of the carpets. This way I had an aisle as a walkway for me to go back and forth from the table to my board.

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

One day, I happened to come across the highly sought after Scoop Rockers by pure chance. I scooped up four of them, and my students were in love! Have you ever seen anything as adorable as this Kindergartener reading?

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom


This picture here is my proudest moment as a special education teacher. I have always struggled to get my students to independently read. I'm not sure what I did differently this year (other than the flexible seating), but I had students reading independently. 

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

My students knew that a clipboard was always a choice they could pick for seating.

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

 By the end of the year, I had come up with this configuration. I "think" I've worked out all the kinks and will be starting off the year like this for next year, with a few minor changes (such as that gray cabinet has been taken out).

Flexible Seating in a First Grade Classroom

 After looking back at this year, I feel like giving my students a choice in their seating was absolutely a positive thing. There were only a few times that I had to make a choice for someone and move them. Whenever that happened, I made them come sit at my kidney table until they could show me that they had earned back their right to choose.

How do you feel about flexible seating? Is this something that would work in your classroom?

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49 comments:

  1. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! I love this! You did amazing!! Looks like your kiddos love it, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! You totally inspired me to go for it!

      Delete
    2. Saya IBU WINDA ingin berbagi cerita kepada anda semua bahwa saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW di SINGAPURA jadi pembantu rumah tangga yg gajinya tidak mencukupi keluarga di kampun,jadi TKW itu sangat menderita dan di suatu hari saya duduk2 buka internet dan tidak di sengaja saya melihat komentar orang tentan AKI SOLEH dan katanya bisa membantu orang untuk memberikan nomor yg betul betul tembus dan kebetulan juga saya sering pasan nomor di SINGAPURA,akhirnya saya coba untuk menhubungi AKI SOLEH dan ALHAMDULILLAH beliau mau membantu saya untuk memberikan nomor,dan nomor yg di berikan AKI SOLEH meman betul2 terbukti tembus dan saya sangat bersyukur berkat bantuan AKI SOLEH kini saya bisa pulang ke INDONESIA untuk buka usaha sendiri,,munkin saya tidak bisa membalas budi baik AKI SOLEH sekali lagi makasih yaa AKI dan bagi teman2 yg menjadi TKW atau TKI seperti saya,bila butuh bantuan hubungi saja AKI SOLEH DI 082-313-336-747- insya ALLAH beliau akan membantu anda.Ini benar benar kisah nyata dari saya seorang TKW trimah kasih banyak AKI atas bantuang nomor togel nya wassalam.


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      Saya IBU WINDA ingin berbagi cerita kepada anda semua bahwa saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW di SINGAPURA jadi pembantu rumah tangga yg gajinya tidak mencukupi keluarga di kampun,jadi TKW itu sangat menderita dan di suatu hari saya duduk2 buka internet dan tidak di sengaja saya melihat komentar orang tentan AKI SOLEH dan katanya bisa membantu orang untuk memberikan nomor yg betul betul tembus dan kebetulan juga saya sering pasan nomor di SINGAPURA,akhirnya saya coba untuk menhubungi AKI SOLEH dan ALHAMDULILLAH beliau mau membantu saya untuk memberikan nomor,dan nomor yg diberikan AKI SOLEH meman betul2 terbukti tembus dan saya sangat bersyukur berkat bantuan AKI SOLEH kini saya bisa pulang ke INDONESIA untuk buka usaha sendiri,,munkin saya tidak bisa membalas budi baik AKI SOLEH sekali lagi makasih yaa AKI dan bagi teman2 yg menjadi TKW atau TKI seperti saya,bila butuh bantuan hubungi saja AKI SOLEH DI 082-313-336-747- insya ALLAH beliau akan membantu anda.Ini benar benar kisah nyata dari saya seorang TKW
      trimah kasih banyak AKI atas bantuang nomor togel nya wassalam.


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      Delete
  2. Hello Angelia,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with flexible setting. I am designing my classroom with flexible seating this year. Like you, my Donors Choose, flexible setting project was fully funded in 5 days! I was surprised and am humbled by the gracious giving. Ironically, I too, taught resource this year but will be in 3rd grade for the coming school year. I love all of your ideas and insights. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with your new flexible seating! And congrats on getting your Donors Choose project funded so quickly!

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  3. Where did you get your standing desks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just had my custodian raise them as tall as they would go. It was perfect for standing height.

      Delete
  4. Great minds! I just posted about this too! (It's taken me 4 days to finish the post too. :/)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Where did you order your scoop rockers and the stability balls from? What company?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Check out my class Facebook page: Ms. Brown's Bunch

    I transitioned to free choice seating in February. My kids and I loved it. I'm excited to start from beginning of year next year. You can see multiple photos of my class in action, and the various seating options. I got a project funded from Donors Choose and had donations, as well as a little out of pocket.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your classroom setup. I've been looking into flexible seating for my classroom too. I have a donors choose for balance disks and fidget pencils. (I have a small space and pretty major behaviors, would love stability balls but I'm starting smaller) Hasn't been funded but that is so awesome so many of the projects about flexible seating are supplied so quickly. I just think kids need more opportunities to move around.
    Miss Buresh

    ReplyDelete
  8. Where did they keep books, backpacks, and lunch boxes? That's my struggle.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I LOVE your ideas! I especially love the standing desks. Your students are very lucky to have an interested, passionate, caring, and willing teacher. I am going to be a special education teacher and I think these are all useful ideas. I'm the type that thinks, "you never know until you try". Thank you for your post!

    ReplyDelete
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  11. As I will be going into elementary education flexible seating is so important! Thanks for the post!

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  13. I love your blog! I am so happy I found another special education blogger :) You have great ideas, and can't wait to use them in my classroom. I am a new follower of your blog.
    Rockin’ in Resource Room

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