Getting Started with Flexible Seating (Free Rule Chart!)

This year, I decided to try out flexible seating in my second grade classroom, and I am super excited!  So in this post, I am going to tell you how I have gotten started with it so far, and give you a free download of the Flexible Seating Rule Chart that I made for myself.

To start off with, let me explain that although last year I taught a first/second grade combination class (also known as a split grade class,) this year I am teaching a straight second grade!  No combo, yeah!  I was originally placed in third grade, so I am happy to be doing at least a partial repeat of what I did last year.  What a relief!  My kids are sweeties, and I am so pleased!  I only found out that I was switched from third to second ONE WEEK before school started, but I wanted to jump for joy!  I am SO much more comfortable with the younger kids... phew!

These are SitSpots (I am an affiliate :D) for my kids to sit on. They are numbered, so each child knows where to sit.

Now, back to flexible seating.  I decided to really jump into this and JUST DO IT, as they say in the Nike ads!  So... I got rid of all of my DESKS and decided to use just tables and the different seating options in the room.  I was comfortable doing this, because my desks are all being stored in the classroom next door.  I can get them all back tomorrow if I want them, so the risk is minimal.  When I found that out, I was more willing to give it a go!

To get started, I made this rule chart that I would like to share with you.  My husband tiled it so that you could print it out nice and large, too!  I hope it is useful! Download it FREE, here!

These are what their supply cubbies look like, with some white SitSpots (affiliate) in front of them!  Since the children don't have desks, they put their things in the cubbies.  I had used these cubbies in Kindergarten, and inherited them from my dear teacher friend Sherry Kinne, whose son had made them in his high school Wood Shop class!  When she lost her brave fight with cancer, her family kindly let me keep all of her classroom supplies that we had shared for over ten years.  I had been using them for storing books and other things last year.  I cleared everything out to make room for their supplies.

Here are the seating options I purchased.  And yes, I used my own money.  Yes, it was expensive.  However, I saved the receipts and I am going to return some of them now that I know what my kids prefer and don't seem to like so much.  For example, I bought six laundry baskets for them to lay in and read, but many of them found the baskets uncomfortable, so I'll probably return a few of them.  Be aware that the baskets probably won't last!  One of them has already cracked on top, and I purchased the best ones I could find... at Walmart.   :lol:

- Laundry baskets with pillows

- Arm chair pillows

- Bath mats to lay on.  (I got them from Ikea, and they are so cozy!)

- A nice soft rug

- Stability disks

- Lap trays

I got these Lap Trays at Hobby Lobby. You can also see a close up of the SitSpots (affiliate) in the photo.

So far, I am still getting used to this new system of classroom management.  I LOVE having the extra space that getting rid of the desks opened up!  BUT... when I give directed lessons that really NEED a table, I am still trying to figure out how to manage everything.  The first day, I had everyone sit on the tables, and some of the kids wound up with their backs to me!  So I had them turn the kidney tables around, and that helped.  I made a rule that nobody could sit with their back to the teacher.

Then one of the tables was situated in such a way that the kids really couldn't see the screen I was projecting on.  I moved those kids to the floor with the lapdesks, but then I had complaining from the rest of the kids that wanted that, too!  So the next day, I just pulled that table into the center of the room for that lesson, and then had the kids help me push it back again later.

I actually decided to give up this little kiddie table in favor of more floor space! (I found it in a supply room at my school.) My kids almost never chose it, and it seemed a little small for them.

The advantages are wonderful, though!  The kids are LOVING their independent reading time!  They cuddle up with those books and I'm hardly having anyone complain and tell me that they "are done," etc.  The reading stamina that they are developing is wonderful!

As I figure it all out, I'll post more.  You can check out my blog for the pros and cons for flexible seating here! As for right now... baby steps!  Are you doing flexible seating?  How do you manage it in your classroom?  Do you have desks?

-Heidi :)

P.S. Don't forget all our videos are available to STREAM on UScreen, FREE for the first 30 days! It's an awesome way to bring some EASY, active learning to your students during this time, and they can always cancel right before they are ever charged, like on day 29! Check out the info page on our website for more info!

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