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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The Great Glue Debate

the great glue debate

If you are a teacher like me then you know all about the great glue debate.  You know the struggles of having to deal with dried, clogged, or gluey blobs stuck in bottles. Quite possibly you have become very particular about your choice of adhesives and methods of applying them. I will share with you my favorites on my quest for the best.

the great glue debate

glue bottles

I have spent countless classroom hours pulling the little orange heads off glue bottles and unclogging wads of glue. I even used a Pinterest idea and sprayed WD40 inside the lids to prevent clogging; however, I still had no luck.  Then I found the Crayola Washable No Drip School Glue bottles. This bottle has been a huge classroom time saver for me. The lid screws on and has a pin-like attachment that slides down in the top that prevents glue from getting clogged. I can even refill these bottles year after year. I am happy to report…not one single clog this entire year!


Glue Sticks

If a student makes it through a whole tube before it dries out (or loses the cap) then he/she deserves a Brag Tag or an award of some sort. (You can download my glue brag tag freebie by clicking the image below.) In my room, I find the purple ones are the best. The color allows students to see the areas they have already applied the glue versus where they still need to apply it. I tell them to apply the glue around the perimeter of the object and make a big X in the middle before gluing it down.  I also serve as the classroom glue stick dictator. A student cannot throw away an old glue stick until I have inspected it. You see, my students want to throw it away if the stick becomes lodged in the cap or if it is waaayyy down in the tube. I generally find that the glue sticks have plenty of glue life left. You would not believe a number of glue sticks I have left at this point in the year in comparison to last year!

the great glue debate

Glue Gun

I finally purchased a glue gun stand this school year. I am not sure why I never did before. It holds my glue gun in place while it heats up and has a drip pad too. Every time I go back to purchase another one for home they are sold out!

tips and tricks

If you are not a fan of glue bottles or glue sticks then maybe one of these tricks below might be a better choice for you.

glue dauber– This handy idea is simple and cheap…empty bingo daubers for $4.18 (at Walmart) plus liquid glue equals glue daubers for no mess interactive journals, cut and paste word sorts, and paper crafts. The gluing possibilities are endless!

great glue debate

glue sponge-Be sure and check out Lucky Littler Learners blog post about how to make these handy little things. You can’t go wrong having a glue sponge container at each table in your classroom!

great glue debate

carpe carrie

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