How to Implement Flexible Seating in the Classroom

flexible seating
flexible seating
Flexible seating is where students are given a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them.

We have been hearing the term ‘flexible seating’ a lot lately. I’ve read where some call it a new fad and say they are not jumping on the alternative seating bandwagon. I am not really sure if flexible seating is a new idea though. I have some pretty fond and vivid memories of my kindergarten days back in 1980. We sat on a huge rug and listened to our teacher read stories and instruct, we could work in different areas of the room, and we had a large cardboard house we would go in and read our books to each other. See…sounds a lot like flexible seating doesn’t it? No wonder I loved my kindergarten experience!

Whether it is a new fad or not, classrooms that have implemented flexible seating have reported some pretty remarkable things. Improved grades,  happier and more engaged students, as well as students having more stimulating conversations are just a few things that have been reported.  ({Fist pump} Sign me up!)

Now you may be asking yourself, “Is flexible seating right for me?”  What we really have to ask ourselves is, “Is it right for my students?”  You have to take a long hard look at your group of kiddos and decide what would be the best type of learning environment for them. Whatever your decision is, be sure it allows your students to work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking.

If you are ready to transition to flexible seating then read on to get some tips on how to implement it in your classroom.

How to implement Flexible Seating in your classroom

Before you begin

Make sure you have a discussion with your administrator about implementing flexible seating in your classroom. You will want their support and thumbs-up before you begin.

Classroom Arrangement 

Start by taking a look at your classroom size. Decide on how you will arrange your classroom. Look at Pinterest to get some inspiration. (You can always count on Pinterest for wonderful ideas!) Here are a few things to keep in mind…

  1. Desks- It is good to keep some in the room. Some children have different body styles and are not comfortable working on the floor.  Some students just prefer to work at a desk.
  2. You will want an area or space for whole group instruction.
  3. Where will you store student’s books and materials?
  4. Will your classroom supplies be community supplies?

Flexible Seating Options

What types of options will you offer in your room? Check out the list below to get some ideas. Don’t be limited to only these ideas. Be creative! When it comes to flexible seating ideas the sky’s the limit.

  • other items to add are rugs, lighting, and music

Funding

There are many funding options for flexible seating items.

1.Garage sales or resale shops are great places to find some gently used items at a bargain of a price.

2.Dollar Tree, Five Below, and the Target Dollar Spot will often have flexible seating items for only $5.00 or less.

3.If your school has a Parent Teacher Organization you can submit a request for items. PTO organizations are more than happy to support classroom activities and ideas. My PTO purchased my scoop rockers, futon, wiggle cushions, and stability balls.

flexible seatingflexible seatingflexible seating

4. You can ask for donations from your classroom parents. You can do this by sending home a letter or by writing a Donorschoose grant. Get your students excited about the idea and their parents will be more likely to make a donation to your project.

management

In order for flexible seating to be successful, you will need a strong classroom management plan.

Start with developing an anchor chart with flexible seating expectations and rules with the students. Ask them what they think would be good rules and expectations. Use these ideas, as well as your own, to develop your set of rules. Check out Megan Snable’s free Flexible Teaching Resource here.

A flexible seating student contract is another way to make your students accountable. Teach2Love has a free resource available here that also includes a parent letter as well.

As you roll out your flexible seating you will want to model what it will look like. Revisit your anchor chart every day in the beginning of implementation to give your students the reminder they will need. Make sure you are giving lots of praise for properly used resources. There is a fun brag tag freebie from Talkin Pinata here to reward your students for a job well done.

Enforce your rules. Don’t forget to be firm, be consistent, and be fair. You will have to give your students a chance to prove themselves. Don’t be surprised when they amaze you!

Flexible Seating and Whole Brain Teaching

I use Whole Brain Teaching in my 2nd-grade classroom for my overall classroom management plan. This year I wanted editable posters to be able to have the option to diversify the 5 rules to make them more suitable for flexible seating. I made these posters below that can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.

Click on the image below to view.

flexible seating

I hope this post gives you some ideas on how to implement flexible seating in your classroom!

flexible seating

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QR Codes in the Classroom

qr codes in the classroom

Are you wondering what in the world a QR code is? Well,  a QR code is a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone or tablet.

First, find an app on your smartphone or tablet that can read QR codes. QR code readers are typically free. This site offers good ones to check out.

Now, find a QR Code generator to make your QR code with. You can find a lot of different options here.

To create the QR code…

  1. Type the text you want the code to link to or copy the URL address you want the code linked to and paste it in the QR Code Generator.
  2. Click Generate.

QR codes in the classroom

  1. Now you can rename the code.  You can download it as a PNG or PDF file .
  2. Now you can insert the code into a document or share or embed the QR code .

QR codes in the classroom

Once you have your QR code you can create, create, create! Read on to get a few ideas on how to use QR codes in the classroom.qr codes in the classroom

Inform parents or students- put a QR codes on a letter to give out even more information. Have a field trip? Put a QR code with a link to the field trip destination’s website. I love this idea from Fun in First with Jodi Southard. The QR code is linked to a recording of her reading the letter to her new students. You can click the image below to read all about how Jodi did it.

QR codes in the classroom

Homework- put QR codes on your homework sheets that has a link to a “how-to” video that can help them solve math problems.

Check work- put QR codes on assignment sheets so that students can self check their work upon completion. I created this literacy center task card assignment and attached a QR code with the answers. Students were able to self check their own work while I worked with another group.

QR codes in the classroom

Student led learning- students work in groups and scan QR codes to determine what task they must work together on and complete.

Audio book– create a QR code that links to an audio book or a YouTube video of a book read aloud.

Digital Restroom Pass- put a QR code on your restroom pass that links to a Google form.  Check out my blog post here to learn more about it.

To create the QR code….

  1. Preview the Restroom Pass Google Form by clicking the eye icon in the top right corner.
  2. Copy the URL address and paste it in the QR Code Generator. Generate the code and save.
  3. Now you can print the code and paste it on anything you choose.  Your students will be able to scan it and it will take them to the Restroom Pass Google Form.

Put it on a restroom pass that hangs from a lanyard or clip.  QR codes in the classroom

Put it on a hand sanitizer bottle and have students put the bottle on their desk while they are out so you have a visual reminder that someone is already out of the room.  QR codes in the classroom

 

Or simply print a poster with the code and hang in your room.

 

How do you plan to use QR codes in your classroom this upcoming school year? Share with me in the comments.

Thanks for dropping by!

QR codes in the classroom

 

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Domain 3- The Heart of What We Do

Recently I attended a Southern Illinois Reading Council spring meeting on Effective Literacy Instruction in Domain 3. I am happy to report that I walked away with some great resources to share with you today.  I have included links to them below.

So much has changed in the educational world since I first started teaching 16 years ago. There was one computer in my classroom, a newly installed dry erase board to cover up my old chalkboard, and a teacher-centered learning environment. Flash forward to current day and there is a technology rich environment with multiple computers, a Smartboard, iPads, and a student-centered learning environment.

In the 21st century student-centered learning environment I am giving my students the keys.  My students must work collaboratively and exchange information, think critically, and have active, inquiry based learning. I am embracing this change and loving student-centered learning! How about you?

Check out some of my literacy instruction strategies and resources I use in Room #7 by clicking the images below.

domain 3

domain 3

Domain 3 Tools and Strategies Links 

Formative assessments (a virtual binder full of ways to collect evidence of student learning) –Formative Assessment

Brain Breaks (I promise your students will LOVE this!) –GoNoodle

iPads in the classroom (app suggestions too)-iPads in the Classroom

Writing (broken down by grade level, visitors can find grade level specific tools and resources that relate to text types)- Illinois Writing Matters

Math (math blog that incorporates math, literacy and technology)-Creative Math in Middle School

 

On a different note…did you see my Illinois blogger button? Click it in the sidebar and view other blogs by Illinois teachers. Thanks for dropping by!

carpe carrie

 

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Alaskan Animal Report FREEBIE!

The Iditarod has started and so has our classroom study on it and all things Alaskan. Since Happy Hometown Illinois is pretty far from Alaska, none of my students are familiar with either topic. Therefore, we decided to take a closer look at Alaska and the Iditarod sled dog race.

The students decided they wanted to learn more about the animals that are native to Alaska… so we brainstormed a list of things we wanted to identify about each animal. From there I created an Alaskan animal research page and kid-friendly directions to the Alaska.gov website. My littles worked collaboratively in groups of two, with each group using an iPad. The animals the class chose from were a moose, eagle, wolf, walrus, seal, snowshoe hare, Arctic fox, and ptarmigan. However, there are so many more on the website if you want each of your students to research a different animal.

We are still working hard on these reports. When each group completes their research they will get a choice as to how they will present their report to the class.  I can’t wait to see what my amazing 21st century learners will come up with.

What are some fun ways your students publish and present reports in your class? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!

You can grab my Alaskan animal research report for FREE during the Iditarod 2016 by clicking the link below.

animal report

animal report

animal report pdf

Alaskan Animal Report-TPT freebie

I found an awesome teaching resource at Teaching in the Tongass TPT store (and it is on sale now!). It is loaded with lots of math and literacy lessons, a mushers biography study, and teacher tips. It was a ‘mush’ needed asset to our Iditarod study.

animal report

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