How is it already October?! The beginning of the year always flies by, but this year seems to be moving especially quick! It could be because I have the sweetest, most fun-loving and hard working group of 3rd and 4th graders! OR that I switched a few things up this year to create an environment where students have more choice – one of those being flexible seating!
So far, I absolutely love having flexible seating options in my classroom and have seen huge improvement within my student’s choices in both their seating choices and making healthy choices within their school day in general. I love that they are learning self-discipline through their choices and can definitely tell me if they chose the best spot for their learning!
Flexible seating has definitely been a learning process for my classroom as this was our first year. So, I thought I would share with you a few quick tips that have made flexible seating a success in my classroom!
- Create a solid routine! Make sure that choosing spots is a routine that is done daily, weekly, etc. You should follow the same system everyday so it becomes second nature for your students.
- Set specific expectations! Set expectations for how you use each spot, when to use each spot, and how to choose a Smart Spot.
- Slowly introduce new spots! I have yet to allow students to choose the butterfly chairs as their “Smart Spot” for the day. They are extra seats that students can sit in during reading and I will introduce them later for seating spots.
- Recognize and praise! Recognize and praise students, groups of students, or the whole class on how they chose their spots and making good choices!
- Reinforce flexible seating expectations! Have students reflect often about their choices and revisit expectations throughout the year.
Although I am loving flexible seating, there is ALWAYS room for improvement and revisiting expectations. 🙂 Every morning my students choose their new spot for the day before morning meeting. They place their clothespin on the picture frame at their spot (found here from Simply Creative Teaching ) and place their clipboard at their spot. (Clipboards have been the PERFECT addition to our flexible seating and allow students to still have ownership over “their spot” for the day) Lately, we have been assessing our seating choices with a quick show of the thumb. For those that give a thumbs down or thumbs to the side, I give them the option of trying to choose a new spot. Those that do move, get definite praise for making the right choice! 🙂
Another aspect I knew I needed to change was a clear visual for choosing “Smart Spots” each day. Therefore, I created this poster and self reflection to help my students remember the best way to choose the right spot. There is always time for revisiting expectations, especially around this time of year where they are comfortable in the classroom, with their teacher and with their classmates.
Have you tried flexible seating? If so, grab this FREEBIE here to help you revisit your expectations in your own classroom and allow your students to reflect on their own progress!
Happy Teaching! 🙂