The first day I brought yoga balls into my classroom, I thought I was going to throw up. It wasn't nerves that threw me for a loop but the constant sway and gentle bouncing that led to what I can only describe as motion sickness. Thankfully this passed within a few days, but it was definitely something I hadn't considered before implementing flexible seating.
With the rapid rise of flexible seating, it is important to be sure you've got a clear plan and you've weighed the pros and cons before jumping in. Here are a few important things to consider before you take the plunge.
This one seems obvious, but it is often overlooked. When you think about flexible seating, you also need to think about your own personality and teaching style. Flexible seating is not designed to be rigid and one-size-fits-all. In order for it to work, you've got to be willing to go with the flow a little bit more than a traditional classroom set up. You've also got to recognize that you won't be able to rearrange your classroom as a management strategy to address issues like talking. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Will the unconventional set up rattle your nerves or appeal to you?
- How will it affect your teaching style?
- Are you comfortable with the choices you're considering?
- How rigid is your expectation for behavior?
Lesson Planning & Instruction
In a flexible seating classroom, you may not have a large space where everyone can easily come together at the same level…like on the floor. As a result, you need to consider how your whole group lessons will work. You also need to have a plan for special circumstances, like testing or science experiments. If you've already embarked on your flexible seating journey, you might be noticing some areas that need adjustment. Ask yourself these questions to help create a solid plan for meshing your instructional style with your new seating:
- How will I conduct whole-group lessons?
- If you have a projector- Do I have spaces set up where everyone can see the screen?
- How will I monitor note-taking?
- What will testing look like? Do I need any extra supplies (like privacy dividers)?
- Is there a space that is “off-limits” for students – where I will conduct small group lessons or other things?
- Where will students keep their things? How can I ensure instructional time isn't lost on getting these?
Administrator & Parent Support
It's important to be sure that parents and your administrators are on board before you leap into flexible seating. If you've been trying it out, you probably already have a good idea about how your parents and principal feel about it.
- Will your administrators support your decision? Do they have any non-negotiables?
- How will you address parent concerns?
- What will you do if a parent or child does not like the new classroom environment?
- How will you educate parents and administrators about the rules, procedures, and expectations?
- Will your administrators be willing to help fund flexible seating resources…or replace ones as needed?
Creating your plan
Once you've considered all these things, you'll have a better idea about your next steps. If you decide flexible seating is for you, you can begin to make a flexible seating plan for your classroom that takes into account your personality, instructional needs, and the preferences of your parents and administrators.
Want to know more about getting started? Not even sure what flexible seating is? Check out my Getting Started post to learn more.
I hope these questions helped you create a plan for flexible seating that fits both you and your students! If you want more great tips, tricks, and resources, be sure to follow me using the links below: