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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My Classroom: Alternative Seating

The past two years I have stepped out of the "typical" view of classroom setup, and thought about what type of classroom I would have loved in elementary school. Over the summer, two years ago, I did a lot of research into alternative seating. I spent time looking at the pros and cons of this set up and thought through the implications it held for my classroom. In the middle of last year I jumped in feet first, and haven't turned back. 

It began two weeks before Christmas last year. I began giving my students the freedom of choice in regards to seating. We still had tables and chairs like any other classroom, but what happened in response to choice of seating astonished me. My students very quickly learned what choices, good or bad, can do for you in life and learning. My morning ritual began with these simple words..."make a choice that is best for your learning today." With those words a new classroom culture began.

The two weeks leading to Christmas break gave my students a taste of making good choices for THEIR learning, instead of me choosing for them. Now, I still stepped in at times to make the choice. Occasionally students came in only thinking of sitting next to their best friend, and not about what they needed as a learner. In those instances I would chime in with reminders or simply ask..."have you made a good choice for your learning." Many times they would nod avidly exclaiming "YES...this is a good choice." I would smile and let them continue with this choice until it became an issue. In that moment I would step in and ask that student to move. (My students understood from day one that I had the right to step in and help with decision making if they were struggling.) 

I have been blessed to acquire a host of seating options. In our classroom we have: wiggle stools, rockers, wobble cushions, a standing table with "spooners", buckets, etc. My students took time the first week of school this year to test each option to determine what worked best for them. Below are pictures of what our room looks like. (Minus the kiddos!! :) )
 Scoop rockers

 Hokki Stools- We received these through Donorschoose.org as well

 We now have wobble cushions at our floor table instead of pillows.

This process was scary at first, but I have been amazed at the learning and growth that has taken place because of our flexible seating arrangements. It is thrilling to my soul when students now say, "can I please move, I don't think I've made the best choice." !!!! YES I TEACH 2ND GRADE! Children are phenomenal. They are ready and willing to take responsibility if we just teach them the right way to do that. I LOVE the change that alternative seating has made in my classroom. If you use alternative seating in your classroom please comment below and share your story. If you don't use alternative seating, have questions, or simply want to know more, leave a comment below and I will help in any way I can.




Spooner- We ordered through Donorschoose.org

2 comments:

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE my wobble stools! Great post! Wendy 1stgradefireworks

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  2. Wendy, Thank you so much for your comment. I love the wobble stools as well. When we have teacher meetings in my room the grownups gravitate towards them.

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