In September, I wrote about how I was considering flexible seating in my classroom. I was hesitant to ditch my desks in favor of couches and stand-up desks. I had heard only anecdotal evidence, not hard research, to support it. Plus, my assistant principal warned me about the way The System works at our school: “If you get rid of the desks, there’s no guarantee you can get them back.”
Hm. I needed to be careful here.
The physical education teacher was planning to write a grant to try to get some seating options that would allow students to move around more. Seat cushions that make kids engage their core muscles. Bands to put on the front legs of the desks or chairs for students to bounce their feet on. Stools that wobble so kids can move without being distracting. She asked if I was interested, and I was totally on board.
By adding these items, I give students options. I did get the science teacher’s old desks, and I got brand new chairs which allow kids to rock a little bit and even tip back sometimes. (I try not to let this drive me crazy, and I’m working on determining guidelines for tipping.) Most of the students choose to sit in the regular desks and chairs, though sometimes they’ll move to the floor when I let them. Other kids want a seat cushion every day, and several like the wobble stools.
When I first got them, I had the kids take turns. I’d write names on the board of who got the cushions or stools, and I’d rotate through the class list. That way, students could try them and decide whether they liked them or not. Eventually, I found that most students didn’t really feel a need for the seating options, and I stopped putting names on the board. Now they just grab them when they want them.
For me, this works best. I’d like to have more stools (the kids like these better than the cushions, but they are more expensive so I have only a couple), but they do a fairly good job with knowing what they like and behaving well with them.
Plus, I can keep my desks.
Have you had different experiences with flexible seating? I’d love to hear your story!