Starbucks My PD Please

Free-choice seating (allowing students to choose their seat) with flexible-seating choices (comfortable seating) has been a welcome wave of change in 21st Century classrooms.    Cemetery-style desks are being replaced with yoga balls, wobble discs, Hokki stools, and more.  If you’ve been in a Starbucks recently, you’ll notice the different options available to chat with … Read more

Free-Choice Seating vs Flexible Seating: What’s the Difference?

When I first started hearing about Free-Choice seating and Flexible seating over the Summer 2016, I didn’t really think about there being a difference in these terms and used them interchangeably.   As the school end draws to an end, I wanted to clarify my understanding.  To the left, is an infographic I created using a … Read more

Flexible Seating: “The Good, the Bad, the Messy”

In other words, a reflection on our experiences so far…

Flexible Seating isn’t a magic fix for anything.  There is research, however, that supports the benefits of movement during the learning process and the power of giving students choice.  For those reasons, I still believe in offering different types of seating and feel that my students enjoy the extra responsibilities that come with this opportunity.

The Messy“: This isn’t the best word choice, but it’s worth noting that there are literally a lot of moving pieces when you join the Deskless Tribe.  After adding an additional layer of team teaching, pencils and other basic supplies seem to vanish even more rapidly.  Community-supply caddies and procedures are set in place, but with choice comes a change in routine and some items don’t make it back to their original homes.  Flexible Seating doesn’t distract the pencil hoarders or satisfy students who love the sharpest pencil point.  Messy desks are exchanged for messy baskets; the advantage of baskets is that they are smaller and more visible.  Of course, you may consider this to be a disadvantage.

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Call Me Loopy but I’ve Loved Looping!

The 2016-2017 school year provided the opportunity to loop up with my 3rd graders to 4th grade.  Everyone I knew and/or met asked me what I thought or how it was going before it was way too early to tell.  But now it’s nearly the end of the school year, and there’s been time to reflect.

The negatives of looping up:  (I haven’t personally experienced any negatives but want to be clear that they exist.)

  1. It needs to be a mutual decision.  The teacher and the family should opt in to make the journey for another year together.  I had two families opt out for various reasons, but it was the best decision for everyone involved.  Two other students were placed in different classes because it was going to be best for their academic experience.  I love all 4 students and their families to death, but it wasn’t about me, it was what was best for them.  One student moved out of  our school’s base area, and the rest of us chose to spend 4th grade together.
  2. The teacher needs to be passionate about educating in the 21st Century.  This covers a lot, but a year with any adult with a poor attitude and an arsenal of worksheets is too much, let alone two years.  Just saying.

The positives of looping up:

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Introducing Flexible Seating to your Students

There are many ways to introduce your students to your new seating choices and even more articles sharing how to do so.  I chose to let my students find their name plate at Meet the Teacher and then place it at their seating choice.  Students sat at their choice on the first day of school and at the end of the school day, they moved their name plate one table group over. We rotated clockwise through the room. ​

Since I am team teaching math and science, it got a little tricky as to what to do about seating for my second group of students:  I chose to write the number I assigned to them in the upper right hand corner of my homeroom students’s name plates.  When my afternoon students arrived, they looked for their number (not their name) to figure out where to sit.  Each afternoon, they had to look one table over since we were rotating through the choices.​​

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Take Inventory Before Embracing Flexible Seating

Before you embrace Flexible Seating, you may want to reflect on what you’re already doing to offer seating choice in your classroom.  If you’re implementing Daily 5 or another management system during your Literacy Block, you very well could be on the way to joining the @DesklessTribe without even knowing it!  I write about this in an earlier post.

Take inventory of what you already have available:

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“Doing” Daily 5? You Might Be Embracing #FlexibleSeating!

When teachers find out that I’ve joined the @DesklessTribe, their first response is usually, “You’re brave!”  While other word choices come to mind, I definitely don’t feel brave and this left me reflecting on all the truly courageous #EduHeroes whose classes I’d been privileged to observe.  Without their examples, I may have not been able to embrace Free-Choice Seating yet.

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Going Deskless? Where Will I Put All of the “Stuff”?

Answering this question nearly became the road block to fully embracing the #DesklessTribe movement!  For better or worse, there is a lot of room in the typical student desk and finding a space to house everything can be daunting. Our ‘new’ classroom does not have cubbies to meet this challenge nor does it have the … Read more

My Favorite Resources for Flexible Seating

If reading what my students have to say about Flexible Seating has you considering the idea, you may be wondering where to begin. Teachers Blogging About Flexible Seating: My two favorite go-to teachers have been Kayla Delzer and Meghan Chapman! You can read/watch Kayla’s Flexible Seating resources at her Top Dog Teaching blog here.  (Updated … Read more