Pros and Cons of Flexible Seating (Mainly Pros)
I incorporated flexible seating during my second year of teaching. My first year, the classroom was so cramped I usually walked across the tables to move around. You can see the amount of space it had in my before picture, to the left. Near the end of my first year, I read article after article about flexible seating. I also asked other teachers, in my PLN, about it. Then, the following summer I completely redid my classroom. Now, it wasn't a Fixer Upper style remodel, but it made me just as happy. Below, I will share the pros and cons of a year and a half with flexible seating. *I also used this during state testing, and it was not a problem.
1. Space. I had so much new space to work with. I felt like I could actually manage and move. I have a very student led class, and I need to be able to get to each student. Flexible seating made this possible, and made me love my job even more. It also gave the students more room to move, and find better spaces to work on projects/labs.
2. The kids love it! We are here for the students, right? So, why not make it their classroom, and not just yours. My first year students come back all the time, and say, "I wish it was like this when we were here!" I love that I can give the students a classroom they want to be in. In return, I really feel it helps them to be more engaged in class.
3. It works! Every student will not want the same seat. I was afraid that when I started this everyone would want a yoga ball. That was not the case. I discovered, every students will find a seat or two that works for them, and they usually stick to it all year. I don't have fights over seats, or complaints about the seating. I can rearrange my classroom at any time, and all my "middles" can come in effortlessly and find a new seating area to work.
1. Not everything will work for you. My flexible seating classroom may not look like your flexible seating classroom. You have to find what works for your classroom, and it may change with time. My first year doing this I had lots of plush items (see image). Rugs, pillows, and papasan chairs. This did not work for me. I teach teenagers....after gym....on hot southern days....you get the point. So, plush was a no for me.
2. Price. When I first dove into this, I made a Donors Choose. It totaled over $1,000. I knew to get it funded I was going to need to lower that total. So, I shopped around and brought it down under $500. It can be really expensive, if you don't shop around. I emailed parents. and received a lot of donations. I checked every thrift store I passed. Then, when fitness equipment went on sale, I bought all of my yoga balls. I kept my Donors Choose mainly to get sturdy tables. I added links to the tables I got below. They are all amazing, and very sturdy.
3. Not doing it sooner. I really wish I would have done this before I ever started teaching. As a new teacher, you are afraid to try "different" things, but I am slowly finding out my "differentness" is what makes my classroom awesome.
Thanks for reading! Have you thought about flexible seating, or do you have flexible seating? Leave me a question or a comment. I would love to hear from you!
Some of my flexible seating items from Amazon (affiliate links) :
Circle Table -http://amzn.to/2CtVLbk
Rectangle Floor Table - http://amzn.to/2Cy0kkK
Tall Pub Table - http://amzn.to/2qe8Y31
Bar Stools - http://amzn.to/2CHnent