Sunday, September 11, 2016

Embracing Flexible Seating

This summer I read many blog posts and articles on the benefits of flexible seating in the classroom. I'm a worrier, so I was a bit worried how my firsties would handle this change of seating. I may have had a few nightmares of having to call 911 because a student fell off a wiggle stool or rolled off a stability ball. Despite my worst fears, I knew this would benefit my students. I looked into the cost of everything I wanted to acquire for my classroom and decided I needed to do it in stages. Our PTA kindly gave us $100 and I was blessed to receive donations through Donor's Choose to help start our flexible seating journey. With these funds, I was able to purchase 4 stability balls, a stability disc, and 6 wiggle stools. I already had 4 bean bags, so that was a plus.

Before letting my students start to choose their own seats, I went back and re-read the rules Kayla Delzer and Angie Olsen implemented with their flexible seating. This helped me come up with my own guidelines. I went over the expectations with my students as the items started to arrive. I modeled how not to treat our new seating, and reminded the students that I could change their seats at any time.

We have been in school for about two and a half weeks now, and I am happy to report that none of my fears have come true. I do want to share with you the benefits that I have seen thus far.

The day we got the first wiggle stool, I let a student try it out who was really struggling to focus and get his work finished. I was amazed, and still am, that he got his work done in the allotted time and I didn't have to prompt him once to get working. I've seen this with many of my other students as well.

I love how excited my kids are about these new options and that I trust them to pick where they will do their best work. I am seeing better focus from all my students who are choosing to use the new seating. I am also seeing students who are excited to come to school, try something new, and be a part of something that will benefit their learning.

I am in the process of writing another Donor's Choose grant to implement more flexible seating. At this point, we don't have tables, standing desks, and a few other things that I have my heart set on implementing this year. Wish me luck! I will continue to update you on the benefits I see through this change. Do you have flexible seating in your classroom? Anything you can't live without? I'd love to hear from you!

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