What is Flexible Seating?
To answer this question think about your home. Do you have only one seat that you sit on each time you sit down? No. You sit on the couch or comfy chair to watch television, read, and more. You sit at the table to eat. You sit on an office chair when sitting at your desk. You might even sit on your bed or use a pillow to sit on the floor.
Flexible Seating in the classroom strives to do the same. Teachers dread Professional Development (for more reasons than one), but sitting on a hard chair for even just a small amount of time is at the top of the list. Now, stop and think about how much you dread those chairs. Think about how tired your back and other body parts feel after sitting on those chairs. Think about if you had to sit on that same chair everyday all day long. You would be twisting and turning also.
Flexible Seating offers different types of seating in your classroom for your students far beyond the hard plastic chair. Multiple types of seating are available in the classroom. How to implement that seating is up to each individual teacher.
Deciding to Make the Leap
I have wanted to go to flexible seating for several years, although I didn't even realize there was an actual name for it. First, I didn't because I moved from 2nd to 4th a few years ago. Then I didn't because we were departmentalized and I wasn't sure how to make it work with so many students coming in and out of my room. At the end of this past year, we found out we would go back to having our homeroom students all day. I was so excited. The time felt right to finally do this.
How do I Obtain Seating Options?
The great news is that it does not have to be expensive to change the seating in your classroom.
The main thing to remember is that it is still YOUR classroom. Changing it up as much or as little as you want is entirely up to you and doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it doesn’t even have to cost you a penny.
Look at your classroom with a critical eye. What would you like to keep? What would you like to get rid of? I wanted to get rid of most of my tables/desk for several years before I did. A few years ago, I began by bringing a LOT of comfy pillows into the classroom along with bath towels, beach towels, blankets, and clipboards. For years, I allowed my students to grab a clipboard and get comfy anywhere on the floor that they wished, as long as they did their work.
#1 - What's in my classroom?
The first thing I did was to make a list of all of the furniture options in my room. I decided that I wanted to change my entire classroom. I already had a large rug on one side of my room. I had six large tables with twenty-four chairs. I decided to keep only one table and four chairs for traditional seating. I also had two standing lamps and four table lamps.
I had two small tables that would work well for only two students sitting together. For one of these tables, I wanted to add wiggle stools, but when I saw the price?? I knew that I couldn’t justify that cost. So, I quickly e-mailed my principal letting her know what I was planning for my classroom and asked if she had it in her budget to order two of these stools for me and she agreed to purchase two. She also agreed to purchase two stability balls for the other table.
# 2 - What's in my home?
I started looking for at more seating options. I looked around my house and found two small rugs, a couple of pillows, a lamp, a small table and two camping chairs that would work. It's amazing what you can discover that you already have when you are looking with a critical eye.
#3 - What do I need to purchase?
Online Yard Sales through Facebook is the BEST idea someone ever thought of. I am a member of several, so I diligently checked them everyday and found several items. Every person sold them to me for even less when they found out I wanted them for my classroom.
Also, check out your local thrift and consignment stores. I got this $60 leather couch for $40.
#4 - Ask your family and friends.
Ask your friends and family if they have any items they will give you or sale for cheap! I had a friend who was taking bar stools to the thrift store, so she gave those to me for free. I had a couple more friends that sold me some furniture super cheap!
#5 - Purchase any odds and ends to complete your room.
I bought these scoop rockers from Walmart and four desk trays from Hobby Lobby. This will give some students a different option from clipboards.
I really wanted a beanbag chair, but DANG, they are expensive. I found one on sale during Amazon’s Prime Day. Normally $42 on sale for $26. It was just what I wanted, so I made the splurge.
#6 - Finance your room
Consider having a yard sale or selling some of your no-longer-needed items online. I sold several items which helped to pay for the items, plus helped to declutter my house.
There's still time to make the change before the new school year. I encourage you to make the leap if you have been considering this type of classroom.
Coming VERY soon - Classroom Reveal!