Have you heard of flexible-seating in the classroom? Good chance your answer is "uh, yeah" or "who hasn't!". Many teachers are decking out their learning spaces with this new student-centered style. Instead of the traditional classroom with rows and rows of desks, teachers are testing the waters with a variety of seating arrangements. And guess what, IT WORKS!
Stools, stability balls, bean bags, couches, rockers, plastic bins, you name it. Students love it, and that's exactly what flexible-seating is about. Happier kids > healthier kids > better engagement > better results. What's there to beat? The facts don't lie. Physical activity has been proven over and over again, to improve academic performance. If kids can't sit still for 8 hours straight, then maybe we shouldn't expect them to!
Not convinced yet? Check out these awesome classrooms, and tell us your thoughts after!
1. The "Mustache Island" classroom at The Kindergarten Smorgasboard makes the top of the list!
Advice from Greg at the Kindergarten Smorgasboard:
"This isn’t a Pinterest worthy room where everything is coordinated and matching. Things aren’t perfect. AND THAT IS OK! Please don’t put pressure on yourself to have a Pinterest perfect classroom. Make it work for you and THE KIDS!"
2. This Pinterest-ready classroom has comfy written all over it!
Via: Christine Shiel
According to Dieter Breithecker at Germany's Federal Institute for Posture and Mobilisation Support, flexible seating can remedy students' fatigue, as the brain activity slows down when the body becomes stationary. It also encourages collaboration and a sense of responsibility among students.
3. Tale of An Accidental Teacher's Flexible Seating game is on point!
4. Kayla, at Teach Like You Mean It, not only nails the flexible seating classroom, but she could even win some interior design awards with this classroom!
5. The Running Mom1115 keeps it simple but flexible as can be.
Via: The Running Mom 1115
6. Ashley Broomfield has taken flexible seating to another level!
This 1st grade teacher, Ashley Broomfield had been teaching for 13 years before she decided to switch to a flexible-seating classroom. Not only did it make a huge difference on the kids' focus, but they also learned to take responsibility and be more autonomous. Win-win!
7. The Unique Classroom is kicking' up her feet, and she deserves to with this awesome learning space!
8. Amy, at Lessons-from-the-dugout
Amy has also seen a lot of improvement in her classroom since integrating flexible-seating. The kids rotate a lot at the beginning of the year, in order to find what works best for them. Again, they are in control, and they're able to behave much better when feeling responsible.
9. Welcome to Setting Up For Second's classroom, pick your seat!
Setting Up For Second has a very neat flexible-seating classroom. Inside, you'll find low tables, bean bag chairs, pillows, and high tables at which students can work while standing up. After experimenting with stability balls in the classroom, she realized they weren't a good fit for her students, and opted them out. This is a great reminder that flexible-seating is not for everyone, and what works in a teacher's classroom might not in yours.
10. Make yourself at home with Easy Teaching Tools' cozy classroom!
Not only does Kristen at Easy Teaching Tools have an amazing looking classroom, but she's also the author behind this awesome blog, where you'll find all types of inspiration and ideas for your classroom.
11. Grab a rocker in A Kindergarten Life for Me's colorful oasis!
A Kindergarten for Life makes her classroom a little home for her students each year. She's purchased rockers from Walmart, and the kids love them!
12. This classroom puts the "flexible" inside Flexible Seating!
"Simple in-class activities can boost performance. Studies suggest that children who participate in short bouts of physical activity within the classroom have more on-task behavior, with the best improvement seen in students who are least on-task initially." - a paper by Matthew T. Mahar, et al
13. This First Grade classroom in Nampa, Idaho was the first in the school to try flexible seating, last year. Since then, the majority of the classrooms in the school now use flexible seating!
These photos were taken from Mrs. Plummer's blog. She has spent a lot of time researching the effects of classroom design on student performance, which led her to the concept of flexible seating. According to her research, alternative seating does all of the following:
- Helps students’ attention spans.
- Makes students more actively engaged in the classroom.
- Gives them an active outlet without disrupting their learning.
- Makes them more physically fit.
- Motivates students to want to come to school.
- Helps those with ADHD and autism, along with other special needs.
- Helps develop a sense of community among the students which improves their social skills.
- Helps them become independent learners.
- Is LOVED by both the students and teachers.
14. Flexible-seating encourages collaboration in the classroom!
Flexible Learning Spaces has great examples of different flexible-seating arrangements, and provides teachers with some great ideas on how they can implement this new trend into their own classroom.
15. Welcome to Club Flex VIP Seating!
"Students feel more involved in the classroom, and the classroom has become 'OURS', not 'MINE' anymore." - Julie A.
16. Even Laundry Baskets, Bins & Tubs all work as alternative seating!
Via: Happy Little Hearts
Transform a plastic storage bin into a personal "boat", and sail away! You wouldn't believe how awesome these work with the young ones for alternative seating, especially when you need students to calm down and set boundaries on personal space.