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How We Implemented The House System Inspired by The Ron Clark Academy at Our School

How We Implemented the House System Inspired by Ron Clark and why you should too. Check out these simple steps to make your class more amazing.

Welcome!

We are so excited to be rolling out the House System, inspired by The Ron Clark Academy, to our entire school! As we posted pictures on Instagram and videos of our students participating in House activities, we were asked by many of you to share how we implemented it at our school. You asked and we are answering!

How to roll out the House System inspired by Ron Clark. Check out these simple steps to add tons of fun to your class. You won't believe how easy it is!

Before we get started…

Before we go any further, we want to make sure that you are familiar with The Ron Clark Academy. If your aren’t, you have just hit THE JACKPOT! You will never be the same! We had the pleasure of going to their two day training in Georgia and it has COMPLETELY changed the teachers that we are today. If you want to read about our Top Takeaways from our visit, check out this blog post BY CLICKING HERE. Just in case you haven’t heard of The Ron Clark Academy or the House System, we are going to share a few links with you to direct you to the right place!

The Ron Clark Academy Home Page

See what we are talking about with this RCA Experience Video!

Link to download their App (If you download their app, you will get a ton of free tools, guides and resources!)

Overview of what The House System is

Now, Let’s Get Started! Welcome to OUR House!

Why you should implement the House System inspired by Ron Clark at your school. Our students love belonging to a house! Click here and learn more about the House System.

After hearing Hope King and Wade King speak about the House System, we just knew that we had to bring this back to our school! It was exactly what our school needed… a positive school culture that focused on lifting each other up! What school doesn’t need that, right?!

Now, where to start?

This is a huge task! How were we going to roll out the House System to a staff that had never even heard of it before? Because we went to the training in December, and half of the school year was already over, we decided that we would pilot it just in our grade level. This was a great decision because we were able to work out the kinks and ease the staff into the idea along the way.

We decided to stick with the names that The Ron Clark Academy uses for their houses… if it isn’t broke, why fix it, right?! The names are Reveur (dreamers), Altruismo (givers), Isibindi (courage), and Amistad (friendship). Our grade level started by taking our class lists and assigning houses in a random pattern down the list. We believe that assigning houses should be at random. One teacher in our grade level was also assigned a house at random to “lead.” We decided to have our students discover their house at a fun get together. Each student was given an envelope. We got together and everyone opened them at the same time and their houses were revealed inside. Students were then given a t-shirt with their matching house.

House Points

 

House Scoreboard and Points Freebie. Click here and learn how change the way your students behave! You won't believe how easy and effective using House Points is!

Houses earn points for positive behaviors. Each House is a team that works together to collect points. As a grade level, we decided on what behaviors should be rewarded. Check out the FREEBIE for the behaviors that we chose. These behaviors were just a guideline. Points could be given for any reason that the teacher felt was appropriate. Points were collected on a “scoreboard” in each teacher’s classroom. At the end of the week, we submitted how many points each House earned into a Google Sheet and the points were tallied. The points were revealed at our House Meetings.

House Meetings

Our grade level chose to hold House Meetings every Friday. We did these House Meetings the last 30 minutes of the day, and it was an event we all looked forward to attending. Our House Meetings were divided into 2 15 minute blocks of time. Each House met for the first 15 minutes by themselves. During this time, students got together and created a chant/cheer/dance that they would perform for the grade level. Teacher sat back and watched. WARNING: This is hard to do!!!!!! You want to jump in and offer suggestions and give them tips. RESIST! Why? We decided to to this because students gain ownership and learn how to work together this way! Trust us! It gets better with each meeting. By the end of the year, our students ROCKED teamwork and communicating with each other. They also gained so much pride for their House!

For the last 15 minute block of time, we all gathered in one classroom and celebrated and lifted each other up in a variety of ways! Check it out below!

Learn how to engage your students through music. Students love music. Click here and learn the simple steps to add music into your class. Plus grab our FREE music lyrics!!!

Music

We always started our House Meeting with songs and music! Students love music and singing, so why not use that to our advantage? We wrote songs that were to the instrumental versions of songs that our students knew and loved. We had four that we sang at every House Meeting.

Read all about using music students love with messages you love. You will change the whole culture of your class with just a little music. Plus grab our FREE music lyrics.

Each song that we sang had a different message, whether it be teamwork, positive school vibes, or just plain fun! Students were singing these songs all day long. We also found that they made for a great brain break!

Our Little Secret…

Let’s just get this straight right now. FACT. WE CANNOT SING OR DANCE… neither of us. This idea terrified us when we went to the training. Here’s where the beauty of taking a song the kids already know comes into play. All you have to do is write new lyrics, go onto YouTube and find the instrumental version, and then have your students sing the song with your new lyrics. Type those lyrics up, put them on a projector and watch the magic happen!

Let us help you use song and dance in your classroom. Click here and read the simple steps that require no work on your part! Plus grab our FREE music lyrics.
Click here and read why music should be part of your daily routine and grab our FREEBIES.

Part of Your Routine

The key is to have students sing these songs multiple times throughout the day so that when it comes to the House Meetings, they’ve got them down!  Students usually only needed to practice each song for  few days until they had them memorized. We sang them in line walking down the hallways, in between lessons, as a reward at the end of the day, as they were packing up. etc… Break up your day and sing about loving school!

We know what you’re thinking…

Right now, you may be thinking, “Wow, I would love to do this, but do I really have to write a song?” NO! We have got you covered! Here are four songs that you can use in your class starting tomorrow… or better yet, TODAY! We have done the work, so ENJOY!
Calling all teacher who want to add music to their classrooms but don't know where to start!!!! We have just the thing for you....lyrics to 4 songs FREE just for you! Check it out!

Here are videos of the songs so you can get some ideas of what they look like!


(We didn’t get the “Juju on that Beat” song in a stand alone video, but if you watch our assembly performance below, you can see that one too! )

Want to add music to your class but you don't want to write the songs? We've done the work for you. We've taken popular songs and tweaked them to work in the class. Grab them by clicking here.

Rewards

The other way that we lifted each other up in our House Meetings were through rewards, or maybe a better word would be recognition. In each House Meeting, we awarded one students from each House with a certificate. We gave a little speech, such as, “This young lady is getting an award today because she went above and beyond on her book report this week.” The reason can be for ANY positive behavior. The student came up and then earned the opportunity to spin the wheel (that we purchased on Amazon) for bonus points for their House. ALL students cheered EVERY student on!

Read about student recognition at House Meetings and how this will change your classroom culture. You won't believe how easy House Meetings are to implement. Click here and find out how.

Want these certificates for FREE? Click below!

 Click here and grab our House Certificates Freebies and read about how to implement the House System inspired by Ron Clark.

The Results:

Read about how the House System changed our school and how you can experience the same thing with a few simple steps.

At the end of the year, we unveiled what we were doing to the rest of our staff. Most of them already knew about it because they had seen the effects. The school was buzzing with excitement! Our grade level held an assembly where we performed our House Meeting so that everyone could see what it was all about. The students sang, cheered, gave awards, and smiled. We had students explain what a House was in their own words. Here is what they said:

“A House, to me, is a group of students that earn points for positive behaviors.” -Amistad

“A House, to me, is a way to have fun and be silly.” -Isibindi

“A House, to me, is a way to connect with students that are in my grade, but not in my class.” -Reveur

“A House, to me, is a group of students who cheer me on and make me feel special.” -Altruismo

AMAZING, RIGHT????!!!!!

We also asked them why they liked the House System. Here’s what they had to say:

“I like being in a House because we get to make up cheers, sing and even scream and yell!” -Reveur

“I like being in a House because it makes school a fun place to be.” -Altruismo

“I like being in a House because we get to make up songs, sing and dance.” -Isibindi

“I like being in a House because we get to see friends we don’t normally get to see very often.” -Amistad

We think it is safe to say that they enjoyed the House System! The students and teachers were PUMPED and ready to dive in to implementing the House System the following year!

CHECK OUT OUR ASSEMBLY HERE!

What We Saw that We Never Saw Before…

Before we wrap up this blog post, we have to tell you what we saw in our classrooms that we had NEVER seen before. We have both been teaching fourth grade for quite some time now. We had always thought that our classroom had a positive environment. Here’s what we discovered. Our classrooms had always had a positive environment that was dependent upon US. We were the ones that “made” students behave. We were the ones that told students to use kind words. After using the House System, the shift was that the STUDENTS were the ones in charge now. Scary for a teacher, right? Not really. It is amazing. Students were now cheering each other on without the push or “the look” from the teacher. Students were now using kind words on their own. The House System is STUDENT led. Talk about a powerful tool!

Read how to implement the House System inspired by Ron Clark and experience the joy students have by creating a postive school culture. It is truly life changing.Click here and learn how you can do the same for your school.

You might be asking, “What did the House get for having the most points at the end of the year?” Well, we don’t have an answer for you! We did not give a reward! You heard that right! We did NOT give an award! They never even asked! Not one student (out of 101) ever asked what they got for earning points. The positive experience, the feel good moments and the pride of having your House on top was enough.

Is your teacher heart happy? Ours is.

And our students’ hearts are happy too!

5 Ways to be That “Favorite Teacher” Every Child Begs to Have

Every time we end a school year, we always reflect upon what went well throughout the year and where we need to improve. Between the two of us, we have 26 years of experience teaching fourth grade. That’s a lot of reflection time! As the school year comes to an end, we often have students tell us that we are their “favorite teacher.” Don’t get us wrong… we know that this is a phrase that most students say to every teacher they have. In no way are we trying to say that we think that we are every student’s favorite teacher. We wish, right?! What we are saying is that we do have multiple students coming back to us each year after they leave our school and they still tell us that fourth grade was one of their absolute favorite years. So why is that? This is the question that we found ourselves reflecting upon at the end of this school year.

So What Does It Take To Make A Teacher “The Favorite?”

Here is our “Top 5 List!”  Are ya ready? We will be working our way backwards to the number one way to be that “favorite teacher.”

#5: Be a Teacher with Clear Expectations

#5: Be a Teacher With Clear Expectations

We all know that children need clear expectations. It is not a new idea. In order for students to learn they have to feel safe. When students know what is going to happen on a daily basis and what behaviors are acceptable, they feel safe and are ready to learn. To us, clear expectations means three things: routines, behavior expectations, and work expectations.

Routines are a part of having clear expectations. Routines are crucial to a child enjoying your classroom. Some examples of routines are: posting the daily schedule, knowing how to enter or exit the room, attendance and lunch count procedures, etc… This is a lot for a teacher to remember! We can’t tell you how many times we forgot to do something and the class fell apart. Here’s the secret we have learned over the years. Are ya ready? Here it is: YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL! Guess what? There are kids in your class. One more secret… kids love to help! We have found that the easiest way to make sure that your routines happen is to assign jobs for your students to do! How many times have you planned for a sub and found yourself explaining every little detail so that the day can operate smoothly. If you put your students in charge of routines, all you have to write in the sub plans are: “The students run the day. Enjoy!” Sounds a little crazy, right? Nope. We do it. We promise. It works. Your students will thank you.

Clear expectations means that you have set up clear behavior expectations. Students should know what behaviors are acceptable. They will have more time to enjoy their learning in your room if the class knows how to behave. In our classrooms, we only have one rule. RESPECT. This one rule covers everything. In the beginning of the year, we hold frequent classroom meetings to discuss what respect looks like. If there is a frequent problem, hold another classroom meeting and let the students (not you) discuss the behavior and come up with a solution. Put it in their hands! Peer pressure is a wonderful thing! We want you to think about 5 behavior problems you have had this year. Seriously! Write them down or say them out loud! No, but really! Okay, can each one be corrected by asking the child if it was respectful? It’s fool-proof. Keep it simple.

Work habits are another important part of having clear expectations. Students will try to get away with doing as little work as possible! We all know that! Do you want to be that teacher that they know they can trick, or do you want them to respect you? If a child turns something in that doesn’t match your expectations, give it back! If you hold your students accountable for doing their work with excellence (Did you catch that? WITH EXCELLENCE) your students will take pride in their work and learning. There is a difference between just doing an assignment to get it done and turned in  versus spending time on an assignment and being proud of the outcome. Your students will thank you (over time) and bump you up their list to that coveted “favorite teacher” title.

#4: Be a Teacher who Teaches

#4: Be a Teacher Who Teaches

Okay, here’s one that we are a firm believer in. How many of us know of teachers who like to look like their students are busy learning, but really they’re just trying to keep those kids busy and quiet with something… anything until that final, glorious bell rings at the end of the day. Are you guilty of this? Probably not because the fact that you are reading this shows how dedicated you are to your calling! There are teachers that “teach” and teachers that REALLY TEACH! At the end of the year, when students look back at their year with you, what do you want them to say? We know that we want our students to say: “Wow, I never thought I could do everything I did this year!” We want them to be pumped about the academic language that they are now using and the amount of books that they have read. When students grow and reach that “unobtainable” goal, they will have YOU, their “favorite teacher,” to thank for guiding them!

#3: Be a Positive and Happy Teacher

#3: Be a Positive and Happy Teacher

Here’s a biggie! A lot of times, we focus on the way our classroom looks or the lessons that we teach, but how often do we focus on ourselves? YOU are the most important part of your classroom! YOU are what matters to your students! YOU! How much do you smile throughout your day? Do you sprinkle little jokes and bits of humor throughout your day? This is a much needed break for you and your students! Keep it fun! Students need to see the happy side of you! When you’re happy, your students are happy! When you’re positive, they’re positive! We have all seen teachers that grumble about how terrible their class is or how unmotivated or lazy their students are. Don’t be that teacher! Be positive! Be happy! Take care of yourself. Do things that make you happy when you’re not at work so that you can bring the happy and positive teacher your students need and desire to your classroom every day.

#2: Be a Teacher Who Cares

#2: Be a Caring Teacher

Student relationships are EVERYTHING! Take the time to get to know each of your students. We love conferencing with our students about their learning. Conferencing can be a huge and overwhelming idea that turns most teachers off. They might say, “I don’t have time for that,” or “I talk to my students all day long.” Here’s our question to you, “What about that child who doesn’t feel comfortable in whole class discussions, or for that matter, even small group discussions? Is that voice ever heard?” We were both one of those students who would NEVER share anything personal in a group setting. Set up one-on-one conferencing with your students. Here’s how we accomplish this “daunting” task. We conference with every child one-on-one every two weeks. During our 30 min independent reading/ reader’s workshop time, we conference with 3 students, for 10 minutes each.  We have a class size of 30 students, so at the end of two weeks, we have conferenced with each one. We start each conference with a quick little open conversation and then go into our academics. You will be amazed at how much you will learn during these quick little conferences. You will get to know them, and they will get to know you and how much you care about them!

#1: Be a Teacher Who Gives Them What They Want!

#1: Be a Teacher Who Gives Them What They Want!

Here’s the million dollar answer for being that “Favorite Teacher!” Drum roll, please…. Are you ready? Cue the black drape being pulled from the answer! BAM! GIVE YOUR STUDENTS WHAT THEY WANT! Your students want FUN! They want a fun teacher, they want learning to be fun and they want to do fun activities where they barely know they’re learning! The Rigorous Owl’s saying is, “If you’re bored, they’re bored.” Stop the boredom! If you dread coming to work every day or if you’ve done the same thing year after year, change it up! Try something new! Transform your room for the day! Teach outside! Dress up! Do something you never thought you would do! Sounds like a lot of work, right? Guess what? It is! BUT, it’s also fun! Get your grade level on board with you to lessen the work load! We worked side by side doing our own thing for the first three years of teaching and then slowly started doing classroom events together. After nine years of operating this way, we would both never go back. We are constantly looking for new things to try and new ways to bring content to life for our students. When we work together, it is half the work. Totally worth it. Let them experience learning first hand. Let them get excited! If you are learning about Native Americans, why not have them dress up like Native Americans for the day? Let other students see how much fun your students are having. You will probably get a few eye rolls from other teachers, but slowly, maybe they’ll ask what you’re doing and want to get in on the fun too. Being a child’s “favorite teacher” is contagious!

SO NOW WHAT?

Now that you’ve read about the five ways to be that “favorite teacher,” we want to help get you started! We love spoiling our followers and showering them with freebies and tips! You are a superstar! Our goal is to inspire you and send you off into your classroom with the tools you need to be successful. We have prepared one helpful freebie or link for each of these five ways to be that “favorite teacher!” Enjoy!

#5: Be a Teacher with Clear Expectations

Download these two FREEBIES! Just click on the images below! Enjoy!

#4: Be a Teacher Who Teaches

Check out how we plan our year and make sure that we cover all of our standards every year! We will be posting many more posts just like this one in the 2017-2018 school year. Be sure to follow us to be notified! Click here to see how we plan for the year!

#3: Be a Happy and Positive Teacher

I’m sure you are not the only one who could use a reminder once in a while about being a positive and happy teacher. We need constant reminders! We decided to post these in our staff lounge and workroom! You and your staff will enjoy this FREEBIE! Click on the image below!

#2: Be a Teacher Who Cares

Download this colorful reminder to post by your desk! Click on the image below!

 

#1: Give Them What They Want!

See for yourself what a classroom event looks like! We do many!

Click here to check out our Mystery/ Detective Classroom Event

Click here to see our POETRY SMACKDOWN Classroom Event

Click here to see our Back to School Boot Camp Classroom Event!

Click here to see our Market Day Classroom Event!

Need some resources to get you started?

We’ve got you covered! Click any of the pictures below! We chose some that would help you out with the 5 Ways to be That “Favorite Teacher!”

50 No Prep Classroom Reward Coupons Motivational Quotes Coloring Pages Classroom Jobs Career-Themed (Editable)

Classroom Awards        Back to School Boot Camp Brag Tags and MORE!

Market Day Event Bundle  Detective and Mystery Activities, Decor, and MORE!  Poetry SMACKDOWN Event

Vocabulary Interactive Notebook Common Core Standards YEAR LONG Bundle  5th Grade Grammar and Language Interactive Notebook  4th Grade Grammar and Language Interactive Notebook

Be a Boss at Flexible Seating Classroom Management

Be a BOSS at Classroom Management in the Flexible Seating Classroom!
 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!”
Sound familiar?
Are some of these your thoughts and questions?
Well, you’re in the right place!
Learn how a classroom economy system is perfect for the flexible seating classroom!

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.
A system for debits and deposits for Flexible Seating

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 Management Debits and Deposits FREEBIE!
Ideas for setting up a Classroom Economy System

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!
Putting Students in Charge of Classroom Management

Putting Your Students in Charge

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!
Learn how students spend their classroom money!

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,
We strongly recommend Market Day!
Rewards for the Flexible Seating Classroom

BE A BOSS at FLEXIBLE SEATING!

Be a BOSS at Flexible Seating

 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!
Flexible Seating Classroom

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!
Types of Seating for Flexible Seating

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!
Check out these Flexible Seating Options in Action!

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?”
Great observation!
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!
Staying Organized in the Flexible Seating Classroom

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.
Learn where to keep student supplies in the Flexible Seating Classroom!

Supplies

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.
Learn about Taking roll, lunch count and dealing with absences here!

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!

Click here for your fabulous Rigorous Owl Freebie!

Sit Spots work for Flexible Seating!

Sit Spots

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
Get this free Flexible Seating Contract HERE!

Click here for your fabulous Rigorous Owl Freebie!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!”

Parents’ reactions:

“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!

Flexible Seatng Options: Perfect for your Class!



Ready for More on Flexible Seating?

Check out Part 2!

Click Below!

Classroom Management in the Flexible Seating Classroom

 

Market Day… The Classroom Event You Have Been Looking For!

CONGRATULATIONS!

You have found what you have been looking for! Market Day!

Market Day! Let the SHOPPING BEGIN! Click here to learn all about this amazing classroom event!
Want to provide your students with an amazing experience that they will never forget?
YOU HAVE TO TRY MARKET DAY!!!!

You will absolutely love it and here’s why…

If you use classroom money, like we do, it seems like you are constantly searching for ways for your students to spend money. You might find yourself constantly asking parents to make donations to your classroom store, or even worse, using your own money! Market Day is your solution!!!! Students get the opportunity to run a business with real life expenses!!! Talk about motivation! We have seen a HUGE improvement in student behavior and work completion because they want to earn money for Market Day!

So how do you start a Market Day?

Some of you might be thinking… “Will this even work for me if I don’t use classroom money?” Yes! You can distribute money just for this day, or have them earn it during the weeks leading up to your Market Day. The amount of money will depend on your prices. When we did our Market Day, our students had, on average, $600. The amounts that you see in this blog post will be related to that amount. If this large amount doesn’t work for you, just adjust based on your needs.
Market Day! Let the SHOPPING BEGIN! Click here to learn all about this amazing classroom event!

Becoming an Entrepreneur

The first step to Market Day is having students develop their business. This needs to start with a classroom discussion about the strategies of starting a business. Questions to consider are: Do you want a business partner or do you want to own your own business? If you want a business partner, what qualities are you looking for in a partner? Once students have brainstormed their responses to these questions, you can have students form partnerships. We do not allow our students to have a business with more than three people… most students choose to have a group of two. Once students are in their partnerships, the real questions start needing answers… How will we divide the work? When will we develop our products? How will we divide our earnings? Will we each keep the earnings from our own products we make or will we put all of our earnings in one pot and evenly split?
Market Day! Let the SHOPPING BEGIN! Click here to learn all about this amazing classroom event!

Let the Production Begin!

The next step is having students choose a product or products to make and sell. In our Market Day, we only allow our students to sell handmade crafts, rather than foods or services. You have the option to include these items, however, we find it easier not to. The only rules that we have for the handmade crafts are that they have to be handmade by the students and they cannot spend more than $10 in real currency on the supplies to make their crafts.
Choosing the right product for Market Day! Find out how!
We print out pictures of crafts for students to choose from, or they can come up with their own ideas. We get the pictures of crafts by simply going onto the internet and typing in “handmade crafts for kids.” We then copy paste pictures into Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, print, and cut them out for students to “shop” through. They take their pictures home, get permission from parents and it’s that simple! Parents love this because they don’t have to come up with an idea and it’s already teacher approved! We like to have students decide on a product to sell at least three weeks before Market Day to allow time for production and for them to work out any kinks that may arise. Prices also need to be decided on. Based off of our dollar amounts, most of our students chose to have their products range from $10-$40, depending on the product.
Market Day! Let the SHOPPING BEGIN! Click here to learn all about this amazing classroom event!

Marketing

The next step is to have students develop their marketing techniques. Students need to come up with a business name that reflects their products. They also need to come up with a logo. They love this part! Student creativity soars! We have our students create around 10 business cards (or more) for their business. We tell them to include their business name, logo, and then list their products with costs on the back. Students also need to design a store sign and an open/closed sign to use for their store on Market Day. In our classroom, we allow our students to advertise through a 45 second commercial for their products/business the day before Market Day. Students then leave their business cards on the counter and students pick one up if they are interested. Another idea is to put together a classroom catalog or bulletin board displaying their businesses and products.
Market Day! Let the SHOPPING BEGIN! Click here to learn all about this amazing classroom event!

A Helpful Tip

Now, your students are prepared for Market Day! We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that students bring in their items three days before your actual Market Day! We have had students come to school crying because their little brother spilled water on their product or their business partner is absent and they have the product, etc… If students bring in their crafts beforehand, you are able to prevent a disaster with upset students and parents.

So how do students use their currency on Market Day?

The first way that students spend their money is by having them purchase a Business License. We charged $200 based off of the fact that students had around $600. Of course, you will get some of your students who have not earned enough, so in this case, we purchase their business license for them, and then they split their profit with us 50/50. We have the discussion that this is what happens in real life, and most people have to take out a loan. Another way that students spend their classroom currency is that we require them to pay for their commercial. They also have to rent the space that they are selling in. We charge $50 a space. Students also have to pay taxes on their profit.
Market Day! Let the SHOPPING BEGIN! Click here to learn all about this amazing classroom event!

The Day is FINALLY Here!

On the day of Market Day, students bring in their shopping bags and get ready to shop! Before we begin, we have a discussion on how they will both sell and shop. We have found it easiest to leave it up to the students. You can ask them if they would rather have their store open first and sell, or have their store closed and go shop? Some students decided to write a shopping list based off of the advertisements the day before and send a shopper out to go get the items, while the other stayed and sold products. Another way to do this is numbering students and having odds shop while evens sell, switch and then a free-for-all at the end.
During the buying and selling of goods, we have our students write receipts and keep a record of their sales and earnings. Our receipts are simple… just the item(s), amounts, and total. The record of sales is useful when it’s time to pay taxes.

The Room is Buzzing with Excitement!

While students are selling, you will be amazed by what is actually going on in your room! You will hear students asking and answering questions (great for your English language learners), making change, using customer service strategies, and teamwork! You really need to just sit back and watch your students become completely immersed in the world on entrepreneurship, or better yet, go out and shop yourself!
We are Deserae and Michelle, also known as The Rigorous Owl! We have been teaching 4th Grade for many years and love creating life-long learners. Our passion is fun in the classroom and reading! We have many interests in common including the outdoors, being moms of boys and creating resources for our classroom and TPT store!
Be sure to follow us on our TPT Store, Blog, and Instagram!