An exciting guest post from 4th-grade teacher, Jennifer O’Brien about the Hidden Benefits of Flexible Seating!*This post contains affilaite links
Prior to implementing flexible seating in my classroom, I did A LOT of research. A flexible seating transformation is so much more than just buying new furniture. There are rules and expectations that must be clearly communicated to the students to ensure an easy transition. While I prepared myself for this change, I learned about some of the benefits of flexible seating:
- Comfort: Students are more comfortable, allowing them to focus for longer periods of time. This leads to higher academic achievement.
- Differentiated Seating: Flexible seating is essentially “differentiated” seating. There are many different choices, some options giving children the sensory input that they need.
- Improved Behavior: Students are less disruptive and are able to burn off energy throughout the day.
The “hidden benefits”
When I made this commitment, I never would’ve thought that I’d see such positive changes (so quickly, too!) within my classroom.
With flexible seating, students aren’t tied down to one desk or seating arrangement. Throughout the day, they are sitting with different children. I have seen new friendships grow from this and I feel like it has only brought my students, and my class as a whole, closer.
Tables replaced the desks that were removed from my classroom during this transformation. I’ll admit- I was nervous that this would lead to a much noisier room, but that did not happen. Instead, I found that there was more productive chatter around the classroom. Tables foster a much more collaborative learning environment. I feel that this has also led to the development of stronger social skills in many of my students.
Improved Self-Monitoring Skills
The purpose of flexible seating is to give students the power of choice. They should be comfortable and ready to learn. This has been one of the more challenging skills to master but it has helped my students develop a necessary awareness throughout the school day. When I ask students to choose a “smart spot”, they know what is expected of them. It has been amazing to see them mature with this concept, understanding what both concentration and productivity should look like. When students feel like they cannot focus or that need to move, they may do so.
Stronger Classroom Management
Since I was rolling out this transformation mid-year, I knew that my classroom management had to be strong. Clear rules and expectations are critical and must remain consistent. Seeing my students understand the daily routine and take responsibility for their learning has been incredible. I’ve learned so much through this experience, and I believe it has made me a stronger, more effective teacher. Stronger classroom management is definitely a hidden benefit of flexible seating!
Interested in learning more about Alternative Seating? Check out:
Jennifer O’Brien has a Master’s degree in Literacy from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, N.Y.. She is General Education and Special Education certified birth-6th grade. Jennifer has been a public school teacher on Long Island for 3 years. In her spare time, she enjoys creating supplemental resources for her students to use as well as reading and going to the beach! Check out Jennifer’s Teachers Pay Teachers Store.