Flexible Seating

Flexible Seating: The Power of Student Choice

I spend a lot of time reading and writing at home. I like to read and write in my comfy chair or curled up on the couch. Sometimes I even lay on the floor to read and write. At home, I get to choose where I’m going to work the best. I usually don’t choose a traditional plastic or wooden chair. I will admit that I have a difficult time sitting for long periods of time in a traditional chair and I’m an adult. I can’t even imagine how my students feel…

Children are movers! My 5 and 6 year old students love to move, dance, wobble, and roll. So why not provide them with seating that allows them to do those things? Why not give them choices and teach them to pick places where they learn the best? I say let’s do it!

I’ve decided to implement flexible seating this year. I have researched, read blogs, and scoured Pinterest to find ideas for flexible seating. I made a list of what I wanted and set out to create a project on Donors Choose. Donors Choose is awesome! Teachers can create a project on their website and advertise it. Anyone can donate to your project. My wonderful family and friends fully funded my project for flexible seating this summer and I am so grateful! Between the items I received from Donors Choose and other items I collected over the course of a few months, my students are completely outfitted in flexible seating! I can’t wait to give this a try.

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These are kid-sized balance ball chairs from Gaiam.

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These are wobble stools from Kore.

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These are scoop rockers from Walmart.

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These are balance discs from Isokinetics. I placed them in chairs.

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These are Stay-N-Play balance balls from Gaiam. I love the legs!

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These are donut-shaped balls from CanDo. Each color is a different size and I think that the green ones are the right size for most elementary students.

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I really wanted a table with very short legs so that my kindergartners could sit on the floor! I looked at many coffee tables but everything was a bit pricey for my budget. I decided to make my own!  IKEA has a desk system where you pick out a table top and legs separately. I just purchased the table top. I went to Home Depot and purchased table legs and the hardware needed to attach them. The total cost of this table was about $20! I put balance discs underneath this one.

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I decided to make two floor tables and I put outdoor cushions from Target underneath this one.

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I made these bucket stools! I purchased 5 gallon buckets from Lowes, a twin bed egg crate, and some shark fabric. First, I used a thick piece of cardboard and attached the egg crate to it with hot glue. Then, I wrapped it in fabric and hot glued the fabric to the cardboard. Next, I hot glued the cardboard to the lid of the bucket. Last, I put the lid back on the bucket. They were really easy to make!

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These are crate seats covered in the same fabric as the bucket stools. This time I purchased crates from target, plywood from Home Depot, and foam from a fabric store. I used spray adhesive to put everything together.

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I found these cute beach chairs at Target.

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I found these bean bags at a Burkes Outlet.

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I wanted an area for students to stand if they wanted to. I moved my classroom library shelves away from the wall this year so that students could work on them. There are place mats to define work spaces. The orange chairs in this picture are from IKEA. The students can also use the orange cushions and sit on them around the room.

Where do all of the supplies go?

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With this type of seating, I had to figure out what do do with all of the supplies. I re-purposed my 4 cube shelves from Target and turned them into student cubbies. Each student has two bins in their cubby. One is their book box and the other is for their journals and folders. The bins are actually ice buckets from Walmart! They are way cheaper than buying a class set of plastic magazine files. I had to go a few Walmarts to get a class set but it was worth it!

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Notice the cubbies behind the shelf. I purchased a class set of baskets from Dollar Tree. The students will keep their crayon box, scissors, and glue in their basket. They can carry their basket around with ease.

How is flexible seating introduced?

I’ve decided to have each child pick a spot at one of the tables each day. There are certain activities where I want them to sit at a table. There are also times of the day when they can sit in the various seating options around the room or move their seating away from their table. To introduce flexible seating, I am going to choose their spot for them for the first few weeks of school. Each student will get to try out each type of table seating and sit in the same place for 3-5 days. After that, students will be able to choose wherever they want to sit each day. Through modeling, character lessons, and procedural lessons, I will teach students the procedure for choosing their spot. Each student will have a picture frame with their name and picture in it. They will reserve their spot using their picture frame. I found plastic picture frames from IKEA for 99 cents! I’m going to ask parents to send a family picture for their frame so that students can have their family with them too.

I am so excited about flexible seating this year! I will post updates to let you know how it’s going! If you use flexible seating, share your experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

-Leslie

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

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