In kindergarten, it’s ALL about routines and procedures the first few weeks of school, and flexible seating options are included in the mix.
Here’s How We Roll Out the 1st Two Weeks
After all of the stash and dash is over the first day, we settle in on the carpet and begin to explore our room. We note all of the different ways to sit and work. I begin to introduce choices on large anchor chart paper each day. We discuss how to use the seating correctly, and kinder friends model how not to use the seating. From day one, groups are assigned to specific seating for an entire day. The next day they try out a different seating choice assigned by the teacher until all seating has been visited. By week 3 we are ready to try individual choice.
It is always understood we may need to sit where the teacher needs us if we forget how to conduct ourselves as we work. I use this as an opportunity for students to model proper use of our seating. So students are allowed to keep their choice, but move closer to my area so I can observe them, brag on them and point out what a great job they are doing. After they have proven they can use the seating properly, they are allowed to return to a choice location. By week 3, we are in a much better place with routines. Can I get a YEAH!
Seating Placement is EVERYTHING
As you look around your room and view all of the types of flexible seating choices you are implementing, you must consider where your guided group table is in relation to stationary seating areas around the room. Because our seating choices are fun, they can be a distraction to small groups as you are working with them. To avoid this distraction, or to minimize it, you must put quieter seating choices near you.
For instance, my classroom library and large brown “mud puddle” rug are quiet choices, so they are the closest to my small group table, as well as our stationary stability ball table and balls. Students know they must use quiet chatter as they work because the teacher is working with their peers. This is the arrangement I have returned to year after year because it works. As you can see, my room is not ready yet, but my library center is in the corner to the right of the windows and small group table. The mud puddle rug will be to the left of our small group area in front of my teacher desk/magnetic name center (not shown). I can count on these centers to be running at a quiet hum as I work with reading or math groups.
Here is a photo of the super plush shag rug we will use 🙂 I ordered it off of Amazon.
Other choices are scoop seats, crate seats, bucket seats, folding chairs and yoga mats or bath mats.
These choices can be located in different areas of the room depending on where the student needs to work. We review our rules every day, remembering our good choices about behavior help us to keep our seating choices.
Keeping Traditional Seating is Important!
If we do not remember there are students who need the stability of rock solid chairs and tables, then we are not a true flexible seating class. Some children like the predictable structure of a chair at a certain table. For this reason, we have two regular height tables. One is for traditional chairs, and one is for stability balls. There is also a third table that sits lower for floor cushion seating. Here are the super cute cushions I purchased for the “short” table this year.
Another seating choice I am in love with are the cute farm animal pillows from Oriental Trading! I actually purchased them, although I do receive materials for featuring on my blog from time to time. I plan to store these in the crate bench under the Smartboard in my room. Here is a pic of the farm animals. They also make a cute stuffed animal to play with when you connect the velcro on each side of the cushion. They are just the right size for a little five year old tushie ;).
Another area of our room is our community roads and businesses rug. Students can take work to that area as well.
What are you doing with flex seating? Share your tips!