March 3, 2018

Let's get Flexible, Flexible! - My Kindergarten Journey in Flexible Seating

Happy Saturday!! Today, I wanted to write about flexible seating in my classroom. At this point in the year (March!) and with many thanks to Donors Choose, I am now 100% full on flexible seating in my classroom.

I wanted to give you a flexible seating classroom tour!

I also wanted to fill you in on some tips and tricks I've learned along the way.

1. I introduced each flexible seating item ONE AT A TIME. Because I was waiting on pieces to come when Donors Choose projects got funded, they had to be introduced one at time. So...every time I would bring in something new, we would have a class conversation, talk about rules and safety, where and when they'd be able to use it, and how to use it. I found this system extremely beneficial! My mind is still working on figuring out how next year is going to go with introducing the flexible seating to my students.

2. Because of flexible seating, my students no long had assigned seating which meant no name tags. This is very important in Kindergarten, because they are learning to write their name!  I didn't realize this until about a week into 10% flexible seating and a kid said, "But Mrs. Green, how do I make my J?" and I was like AHHHHHH. So. I made cups and they have their name tags and scissors with them!

3. ^^ going along with #2. Because my students no longer had assigned seating (and all of my classroom tools - scissors, crayons, etc are community supplies) anytime a child left his/her seat, we didn't know who had been sitting where or when or how or why or all of the above. This became extremely difficult at snack time and we didn't know if it was an empty space or the snack helper's space or if that friend was in the bathroom. HOT. MESS. So, the blue cups have saved the day again by saving their place!

4. I allow my students to move places and spaces with each transition of our day. This gives them the opportunity to try out different seating throughout the day. At first, I thought this would be hard, difficult, and a terrible thing happening in my classroom EVERY MINUTE. But in reality, it has become really fluid. Kindergarten has so many transitions throughout the day (sometimes within 10 minutes) and it allows the students to grab their name cup and find a new spot. It switches things up! It allow them to sit in new spaces and places!

5. If students abuse it, they lose it. Straight up. That's it. Like.....the wobble stool is over your head because you decided to wave it in the air? NOPE. You are rolling on the yoga balls like a nut? DONE. The floor pillows are for hitting your friend? SSTAWWWPP. They know, it all started on the first day when I laid down the rules. If you don't use the seating in the correct way, then you lose that seating for the rest of the day. (Sometimes the week - depending on severity ;) )

6. It has enhanced classroom community. Friends, I was floored by this. FLOORED. I thought friend groups would try to sit with friend groups, and kids would be trying to save seats...but my friends have really sat with many different people at each transition. They are created new friendships, connected with old one, and my classroom community has really flourished. I was worried cliques would start at the leaf pillow table or friends would want to all sit together at each space, but they really have chosen the bet spot for them and it has created an AMAZING community!

7. Flexible seating is another classroom management piece. Keep this in mind!! If you feel like your management might be lacking right now (or something you need to strengthen) or if you feel like you don't want to add something else to your plate  - then don't. You don't have to have flexible seating in your classroom to create a great classroom experience or learning experience for your students. But if you want to have flexible seating - you have to manage it, and manage it well in order for it to be successful.

If you are on a flexible seating journey, I'd love to hear how it's going for you! Or if you have any tips or tricks to pass on to others! If you aren't and want to know more, please ask away! And if you are considering it, I hope you take the plunge. I have loved it!!

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