I have never wanted a tattoo, not because I have anything against them necessarily, I mean I have plenty of friends and family that have adorable and meaningful tattoos. I personally never wanted one because I knew that it was an expensive FOREVER investment. I just like change too much. I change my hair style, color, and cut every two to three years, I change around rooms of my own home very often (thanks hubs for all the help), and in my classroom I rotate out student work on the walls, I put up and take down holiday decorations, and I change the seating arrangements on a VERY consistent basis.
So, for me, flexible seating has been difficult for me to come to terms with – it is an investment in something pretty permanent. That THIS is how my classroom looks all the time and I can’t rearrange the furniture as easily as I could with individual desks. Now, that being said, I still really like it, but I have a feeling that I will need to add to it or take away from it often to fulfill my own personal need for change.
Unlike the tattoo, however, I can make some slight changes and adjustments which is nice. Here is what I am changing going into second semester in terms of flexible seating:
Instead of students choosing a working spot for their team on a first come, first serve basis, I am going to be rotating each team through each working spot so that each team gets the opportunity to work in a variety of spots. Even though I had the rule of only one spot per week, since there are 8 spots and only 5 days in the week, some teams were just never getting the “cool” spots. I am going to rotate the table numbers that I made using the IKEA standing frames at the end of each school day.
Sit-on-the-floor-on-cute-pillows-working-spot?…she gone. You can see the table and pillows in the photo at the top of this post and in the below picture you will see it has been REPLACED. The younger students (eehhh, my Freshmen) couldn’t handle it. It became the try-and-lay-down-and-sleep-on-the-floor-table and I am just NOT okay with that. No matter how many times I reminded, scolded, or just plain yelled, “SIT UP PEOPLE!”, they couldn’t manage proper seating or posture in this working spot and so it had to go. It has been replaced with a round table with four chairs.
The chairs at the back bar table used to have wheels and have been replaced with regular four legged chairs. I had many wheels falling off or breaking and it wasn’t worth the upkeep at this point for me. I am going to look for some of those bands that go around the chair legs as an alternative for slight rolling for some of my students who have the need to fidget and are missing the rolling chairs.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon these amazing coffee house chairs on Offer Up that a local senior living center was selling (for $10 a chair!!! And if they would have had more I would have bought more). These chairs are amazing and if you find anything like this I highly recommend them for your classroom. This has become such a favorite spot in my classroom – I mean my own teacher-PLC works here!
Some other considerations and observations that I am going to make over the next semester are: 1) which working spot do the students work best at? and 2) where do I see a need to improve a working spot or location of the spot in the classroom? and 3) what other spots could I create that aren’t too distracting for the students in order to keep it fresh?
Overall, flexible seating has been challenging for me, mainly because it is a pretty permanent fixture in my classroom space (so if you hate change and like to leave things alone, this may be a great way to go for you). Please comment with any questions or suggestions on flexible seating for high school students, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Hope everyone is off to a great start for second semester and Happy New Year!