Two weeks into flexible seating and we’re still big fans. But what about . . . . the questions people have.
Where do they keep all of their stuff?
Every student has a book bin and a pencil box to keep their things in. Classwork folders, homework folders, a good book or 3 to read, and cursive booklets all easily fit in the book bins. Their pencil boxes house pencils, erasers, crayons, password cards, and other trinkets that seem to be magnetically attracted to 7 and 8 year olds.
This is where the fact that I’d already ditched the desks in favor of tables helped me a lot. I’m not sure I would have been able to wrap my little mind around flexible seating if I hadn’t already dealt with the question of, “Where will they keep their stuff.”
On my first attempt, I lined up all of the book bins and pencil boxes on our one big counter. The book bins worked, but we had traffic jams. If students all needed to go get a pencil and their classwork folder there was a monster back-up of Southern CA freeway proportions. Today, after school, I rearranged things and we now have 4 groups of book bins and pencil boxes spaced out on counter tops around the room.
As for the textbooks they’re in the cupboard. If we need a reading anthology, science book, or social studies text we get in a line, take the one on top and walk away.
Don’t the kids fight over seats?
No. I did have to establish a clear rule again seat stealing. If someone gets up for a minute to get a pencil or go to the bathroom you can’t take their seat. With that taken care of there has only been one time when I had to step in over a seat dispute. And the rule is if I have to get involved, neither of the squabblers will be able to sit at the seat.
Won’t they sit next to their friends and talk?
Yes they talk. Flexible seating isn’t a magic cure-all for students talking instead of silently working. They talked when they had assigned seats and they talk now. What I can do now, so much more easily than I could before, is move kids. There are always open seats somewhere and it isn’t a big deal to sit in a different seat. I have and I will readily ask students who are too distracted by a neighbor to go sit at a different seat.
How do you like it?
I love it. I can’t say enough about it. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to traditional desks. It isn’t just about giving kids a comfy place to sit, it is about a whole change in classroom environment. It is one of the most powerful things I’ve done for my students. I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for another blog.