Welcome to our second blog post in our”Be a Boss at Flexible Seating” Series!
This post is all about your Classroom Management in a Flexible Seating Classroom!
We’ve got some FREEBIES and tips for you in this post!
Questions About Flexible Seating…
“How do you get your students to behave well while they are sitting next to their friends?”
“You’re telling me they really sit on the balls and don’t bounce?”
“Ya right, my students would destroy all of those fun types of seating!”
Are some of these your thoughts and questions?
Well, you’re in the right place!
Behavior Management in Flexible Seating
We have found that the answer to Classroom Management in the Flexible Seating Classroom is through a Classroom Economy! The Flexible Seating Classroom is made for a Classroom Economy System! In our classroom, we use “Brazeal Bucks” and “Devlin Dollars” to encourage positive behaviors in our rooms. Take a look below at the system we use in our classroom.
Deposits and Debits for the Flexible Seating Classroom
This system of Deposits and Debits is ideal to encourage students to behave properly in the Flexible Seating Classroom. Students are assigned jobs in our classrooms. The jobs that they have help to create a sense of ownership for their classroom. The biggest hurdle for students to jump over is to view the entire room as their responsibility, not just their seat for the day. Once students grasp this, the Flexible Seating Classroom is more likely to succeed.
Notice the items on the list above that encourage responsible behavior in the Flexible Seating Classroom:
Clean Zone, Talking to Neighbor, Out of Seat, Inappropriate Use of Seating, and Trips to Backpack.
A Closer Look
Clean Zones are necessary to keep items from spilling over into other students’ “work bubbles,” since work spaces are less defined than the traditional desk.
The Talking to the Neighbor offense is hit with a fine of $20 and the action of moving! If you put a fine talking, your problems will be reduced significantly! The act of moving sets the tone for other students in the room also. The loss of seat seems to have the highest impact! Students start to realize that they need to find a “Just Right Seat,” rather than just sit next to their BFF. From our experience, we can tell you that we do have BFFs sitting next to each other every single day and they behave extraordinarily! They quickly realize that they are in control of whether they sit next to each other or not!
We noticed that in the beginning of the school year, students tend to think that they can get up whenever they want. The Out of Seat fine helps with this problem.
The Inappropriate Use of Seating is extremely important. It took one deflated ball and a snapped lap desk to figure this one out! When a student uses seating inappropriately in your Flexible Seating Classroom, which they will at some point, you will be shocked at how the other students react. Students are NOT happy with the offender! A popped ball means one less ball for them to use! We highly recommend that you DO NOT replace items that have been destroyed. If you replace the seating, be prepared to keep replacing them! When the seating was damaged, the boy who popped the ball with his pencil brought a new one in THE VERY NEXT DAY without even being asked, along with an apology note to the class. The gasps and looks of disappointment were far more powerful that anything else!
Trips to the Backpack fine is put in place so that the students are prepared for their day. We keep our backpacks outside, as mentioned in our first blog post. If you missed it, Click Here
Get this list of Deposits and Debits for FREE by clicking the image below!
Classroom Economy System
If you are interested in implementing a Classroom Economy, we have some fun tips for you! In our classroom, we have two Police Officers and two Bankers. We love theme, so we set them up with some fun accessories! We purchased $$ glasses, blinged-out necklace and aviator glasses from the Dollar Tree. A student brought in the doughnut accessory, so I’m not quite sure where that came from. By the way, when she brought the doughnut in, we never laughed so hard! She totally gets us!!!! We have found that the only way to store/use money in the classroom is by using a cash drawer, which we found on Amazon. We created our money to fit perfectly!
Our Classroom Economy Bundle is completely editable!
We enjoy putting our students in charge whenever it is possible. They should be the ones running the room! Our Police Officers collect fine and our Bankers pass out rewards. We also open our bank every Friday for students to make change, etc…
Your students will have counting money MASTERED! This is a life skill that they are getting and they don’t even realize it!
Spending Classroom Money
Many teachers ask, “Ok, so you use classroom money… What do they do with their money?” Great question! Our students get to purchase Reward Coupons once a month. The “store” opens up and the frenzy begins! We charge $100 for a coupon, and they fly off of the shelf! These colorful rewards are ideal for the Flexible Seating Classroom. Want them in your room? Click here to buy them in our TPT store. We love these because most of them don’t cost you a thing and they fit inside baseball card sleeves! So easy!
Flexible Seating Reward Coupons
In the image below, we list some of the ones that work great in the Flexible Seating Classroom. First to Enter means that a students can cut to the front of the line when it isn’t their turn to enter first that day (If you don’t know what we are talking about when we say this, Click Here for this FREEBIE!) Make ’em Move means that if someone is in the seat they want, they can make ’em move! They love this one! Reserved Seating is when a students enters the room and chooses their seat, they can reserve a seat for one of their friends too. Flexible Seating Rewards are so easy and they don’t cost you a thing! Students love them! Another way that our students spend their hard earned money is at Market Day. Market Day is a whole other story, but if you are interested in it,
Welcome to the first post of a two part blog post series on Flexible Seating!
We want to share our Flexible Seating classroom with you!
So, you’ve seen Flexible Seating and you want to try it, but it seems a bit overwhelming…. am I right?
We felt the exact same way! Hopefully, after looking through some of our tips, you will gain the confidence and motivation to start Flexible Seating in your room!
We are telling you…
ONCE YOU EXPERIENCE FLEXIBLE SEATING FOR YOURSELF,
YOU WILL NEVER GO BACK!
In this post, you will see our types of seating, how we enter our classroom, where students store their materials and how students are introduced to the idea of Flexible Seating!
Types of Seating
Here are the types of seating that we have available in our room. We did not start out with everything you see in the pictures here. We started small and continued to add more and more options. Some of our first seating options were: yoga balls at desks, a lowered kidney table with pillows, lap desks, and spare rolling chairs. These seating options are all extremely low priced items.
Once our administrator saw our Flexible Seating classroom, we were given 4 wobble stools. These were a bit pricier, but your school might have funding for them or there is always Donors Choose. Our advice to you is to not let the fact that you don’t have the pricier items stop you! Start off simple and build over time. Later, we added in bean bags, bean bag chairs, cushioned crates, scoop rockers and our favorite… a couch!
Flexible Seating In Action!
Here are some action shots of our students! All we think when we look at them working, is
WHERE WAS THIS WHEN WE WERE IN FOURTH GRADE?????? RIGHT?!
We mean, COME ON… They look so comfortable!
Where’s Their Stuff?
While you are looking at these pictures, you might be thinking to yourself,
“Where is all of their stuff? They don’t have a desk, so where is it?”
This took some time to figure out! We can’t wait to show you what we came up with!
…and by the way, we have to tell you that the fact that students do not have a desk is AMAZING! There are no more messy desks or the famous excuse of, “I left it at school in my desk!” For the desks that we did keep in the classroom, we turned the sides that open toward each other so that students cannot use them. The bonus is that I get to use the desks for added storage!
Keeping it All Organized
Our students do not keep their backpacks in the room. Students empty their backpacks and keep them outside. This reduces the amount of clutter in your room and keeps you from tripping over bags all day. One day, we hope to have hooks mounted to the outside of our rooms, so that the backpacks can be kept off the ground… here’s to having goals, right?! The next thing you need to know is that we are an AVID school. All of our students have binders, which we think is IDEAL for the Flexible Seating classroom! Students keep all of their materials inside this binder. We have found that three inch binders are the perfect fit for our needs. In the binder, students have their pencil pouches with supplies, dividers for each subject and paper. The binders travel with the students and they use them for a flat surface to write on.
Here is our Supply Station. The material baskets on the top shelf are community supplies. If students need supplies for the day, they are free to use and return. The pencil boxes on the second shelf are called their “Safety Deposit Boxes.” Students keep spare, or back up materials, in these safety deposit boxes, so that they are always prepared. THESE HAVE BEEN THE BEST ADDITION! On the bottom shelf, you see student book bins. Students keep books or items that we do not want leaving the classroom inside of them. This is also where we pass out supplies or papers if the students are not in the room.
Attendance, Lunch Count and Absent Students
Attendance in the Flexible Seating classroom isn’t as easy as when you have a desk for each student and you can just quickly see who isn’t there based on an empty seat! To avoid calling each student’s name every day, We have the students move their magnet as they enter the room. At the same time, your lunch count is also done for you. Simply count (or have a student count) how many need a lunch and note the magnets that are left at the top and you’re done! If you look at the picture to the right above, you can see that we have laminated a paper that says, “Absent” and “Lunch Count.” A student does this job each morning and leaves it on our roll book, ready to be marked! If a student is absent, we simply clip the day’s papers on the bottom of our board for them to grab first thing in the morning. A folder on the counter would serve the same function, but this way, it’s out of your way!
Our boards, as you can probably tell, are just cookie sheets!
Entering the Classroom
Here is a video of our students entering our classroom.
One of our students is the “Host.” The host calls different groups of students in at a time. This solves the problem of students making a mad dash for the favorite seats and provides everyone a chance at getting first dibs. The arrow on the left hand side is attached to a clothes pin. The clothes pin gets moved down to a new group each day. No more arguing!
Super simple… and better yet, this sign is a FREEBIE in our store!
Click below to grab it for yourself!
Sit Spots have seriously been amazingin our Flexible Seating Classroom!
Direct instruction can become problematic when students are spread all over the room, and sometimes tucked in corners. Whenever we are teaching whole class, students bring their binders in their laps and sit on their Sit Spot. Each student has their own assigned Sit Spot. This allows us to pair students up with ability based partners and we can even create groups based on the color of their Sit Spot. (We will go into this in a later blog post!) Sit Spots are the bright colorful dots in the picture above. They are Velcro, so they are perfect for carpets! We do what we need to do whole group, and then the students return to their work area.
Interested in Sit Spots? Click below to check them out!
They even have a free sample that you can test out in your classroom! Sit Spots
Flexible Seating Contract
Here is what works for us in our rooms. This Flexible Seating Contract goes over our basic Flexible Seating rules. The contract is given to students and parents at the beginning of the year. It definitely takes time for students to catch on, but once they get it, it works!
In the End…
If we are being honest, there were many moments of frustration and feelings of throwing in the towel, but we pushed through our difficulties and made adjustments when problems surfaced. We can honestly say that Flexible Seating has transformed the way we teach and the way our students learn. The feeling that Flexible Seating creates in your room is one that you MUST feel for yourself. The classroom changes from a stuffy and formal environment to a cozy, personal environment. It opens the flow for communication and conversations that we have never had in our rooms before. You seriously feel like a family and you get to know your students better than ever!
Not only will your students love Flexible Seating, but others will too!
Here’s a few examples…
When students from other classes walk by our rooms when the door is open, we hear,
“Wow! That classroom looks fun!”
“I really want to be in your class next year!”
“I’ve never seen a classroom like this! Tell me about it!”
“My child told me he/she didn’t have a desk, but I didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself!”
“My child loves your room!”
“He/ She always struggled with sitting in his/her seat and I think this setup will be a game-changer for them!”
We hope that we have provided you with some tips and tools for you to use in your room!
We would love to hear any questions or comments that you have in the Comments below!