I talked about this on my video because I think it's so important. Flexible seating isn't about the “stuff,” it's about student choice. Flexible seating is moving away from traditional seating—where students are assigned a seat, to a seating arrangement where students have choice. It's getting rid of the rigid thought that students must learn in rows of desks, everyone facing forward, with little chance of collaboration. I've got some of my favorite flexible seating options that I've been using in my class for the last few years.
Flexible Seating Options
I've got some options that you may already have in your classroom or home that you can use. Others, you can get through Donor's Choose, Facebook Marketplace, or at garage sales.
1. Beach Chairs
I have used beach chairs in our class library since day 1. You can typically get them for a lot less at the end of summer. If you're going to use a beach chair, make sure that your students has a hard surface like a clipboard to write on!
2. Open Space
Since we removed over half of our student desks, we have so much open space. It makes is easier to move around and collaborate.
3. Yoga Balls
I'm going to be very transparent with you. I am paid a small fee from Amazon for sharing these awesome resources with you! The yoga balls (The kid size works great for up to 2nd great. For 3rd and up, go for the junior option) are my least favorite option because they take the most work to manage. While we set classroom norms when it came to our flexible seating options, the friends who choose yoga balls need to be redirected more, from my experience. However, my kids love them. I'd go with the “feet” option and train your kids to sit with the feet facing outwards, when sitting on the ball. When they get up, make sure the feet are on the ground! Also, keep like seating together. Don't mix the yoga balls with the traditional desks, etc.
4. Lower desks without spending money
Nicely, ask your awesome custodian to take the legs off a few of your desks to make low desks. I have a bin of comfy items like rugs, blankets, pillows, and mats that the kids choose to sit on. If you have concrete floors, definitely put a rug underneath so the metal won't scrape your floors.
5. Raise desks or tables
Use these bed risers to raise your desks or tables. In year's past, my students loved having a standing table. Last year, my group didn't like standing as much so we added these stools and these ones that doubled as storage.
6. Small Tables
I purchased small tables and chairs from the patio section at Target. Personally, I liked the white table from Ikea better and it was half the price.
7. Lap Desk
You can buy them for 5 bucks from Micheals. My students loved to grab a desk and find a space on the carpet to work.
8. Floor Space
My students love reading on the floor. I have a bin of comfy items like rugs, blankets, pillows, and mats that the kids choose to sit or lay on. As long as they were safe, responsible, and comfy, I was good with it!
Oftentimes during group work, students loved to find a comfy spot on the ground to collaborate.
I guarantee you've got a lot of flexible seating things lying around that you can use in your classroom.
You can get the Kinder mats at the end of summer at Target for a really good price or just get them here.
10. Picnic Table
This table was a hit in my classroom. It fit 2 second graders and their stuff. I got this color at Sam's Club but you can also get it here.
I was lucky enough to have my mother and sister-in-law put these bench cushions together for me. You can see the tutorial here. My students used the small, pink stools to either sit on or put their work on like a mini desk. The round chair is from the dorm section at Target.
Ready to get started? I've got a Flexible Seating Resource Pack that will help you in your class!