Jun 30, 2019

Flexible Seating: Potential Problems & Remedies

As addressed in my last blog post, flexible seating in the classroom is a big topic these days.  Some might ask what is wrong with traditional seating.  My answer to that is NOTHING.  Nothing is wrong with it!  However, some students just do better with something more flexible.

Most students start out their school experience in a traditional seating arrangement.  For some, that's all they ever know.  So if you choose to go the flexible seating route,  you might have questions as to how your students are going to do in a new type of setting.  I totally get that!!!
When thinking back to when I first started centers....I was actually doing it before most people in my building. So when I got a new class of students, many weren't use to them already.  What I did (and what most of you that have centers already do now) is model and practice for at least three weeks!  If you have been successful with centers, then you already know the importance of getting that established from the get-go.  Rules must be established, stated, restated, modeled and practiced.  Procedures must be in place so students know where and how to get them and put them back.  
I think the same is true with flexible seating!  I think starting out in traditional seating then modeling, practicing, experimenting, etc. is the way to go.  You need to get to know your students.  Maybe you don't need any wobble chairs but need several wiggle cushions.  Maybe you need to lower some tables or maybe you don't.  Like I said in my last post, some of my students that were quick to try out a wiggle cushion or a wobble seat found that they didn't really like them.  They were a hinderance to their learning, and they recognized that.  Some that thought a particular type seating wasn't going to be what they needed, but they tried it and found out differently.  Then there were some students that tried different options and went back to the traditional desk.  Students need to know where particular seating is kept and where to put it back.  They also need to know the rules for using each option.   

So, here are the potential problems that I see when I think of using flexible seating.

*kids need structure and consistency 

*using the seating inappropriately (which can cause safety issues or disruptions)

* arguing over the seating

*some students have IEP's

So in order, I'm going to address possible remedies (that I see) for each.

*Have a regular place for each kid to start with. Then if they need to stand or get a wiggle cushion, they may do so.  I want to have whole group teaching as part of my class, so I want students "together" to get that whole group lesson!  Then when they work independently, they may need to move to the floor on a yoga mat, or stand up at a countertop.

*As I stated earlier in this post, there must be rules established when using flexible seating options!  Modeling and practicing at least three weeks is going to set the tone for the rest of the year!  It is well worth using that time to get it well established and thwart as many problems as you can!  If someone decides they won't follow the set rules, then they give up their right to a choice.

*Let students try out different seating options so they can see firsthand how they do with them!  As I stated before, some will think one thing but after actually trying it, they will think differently.  

*Some kids have preferential seating in their IEP's.  Collaborate with SPED teachers for each individual student that might fall into this category.  If something is in their IEP then it is not only important, but it is legal!
There you have my concerns and solutions to flexible seating.  Things are ever-changing, and what works with one student (or even one group of students) may not work for another, as I stated in my last blog post.  So I may encounter new problems with which I'll need to find a solution.  You just never know...but I do know...you just have to be flexible  :) and find out what is best for your students!

I made up a set of flexible seating posters if you find that that works best for you.
You can find them here .

Thanks for visiting!  
Enjoy some sunshine and those that you love!
Summer Blessings,

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from others! Thank you so much for leaving a comment!

Building A Classroom Community

Classrooms are actually communities...after all, educators and students spend a lot of time there together....at least seven hours, five...