Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Alternative Seating in My Classroom

I decided to be a lunatic and try alternative seating the week before Thanksgiving break and (most likely) my first informal observation. I am not known for my patience when I have my mind set on something. This change was no exception so I decided to just dive right in. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have a classroom run by boys! 70%, if we're getting technical, of my classroom is rowdy, running, horse-playing, hitting, swearing BOYS. I needed to ditch the traditional classroom model of "stay seated", "sit still", "no standing" and so on. Most of my boys just simply can't waste their attention on fixing the way they're sitting. I came across the idea of alternative seating this summer and I know when I saw this photo on Pinterest I about drooled on my iPhone.
If you google "alternative classroom seating" this beautiful classroom is the first picture that pops up and it belongs to Setting Up For Second. The colors * swoon* The stability balls with little feet *swooooon* The bean bags *swooooning still* I want to go to school there!

After being hypnotized and inspired by the above photo, I then randomly read a great article Kayla Delzer (from Top Dog Teaching - like you didn't already know!) wrote on EdSurge about the evolution of today's classroom. Kayla writes, "As I sat in our local Starbucks this past summer, I looked around and thought--why can’t my classroom look like this? " I, much like Kayla, want my students to have the opportunity to choose where they learn best in our classroom... and I had a feeling that for most of them it wasn't at a desk. If you read Kayla's article, you'll see some of the completely inspiring photos of how she changed her classroom. Simple options like a bath mat and a clipboard can change your students' entire perspective on how they can work independently and comfortably. 

Without spending more than $15, I was able to transform my classroom into something new. Let's get to the pics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I asked our custodian to lower these tables for me and they're now a great height for kneeling and sitting at crate seats. They used to have our computers on top of them - I put the computers on student desks instead! The floor cushions are made from $5 vinyl (for easy cleaning) that was 30% off and some foam stuffing my mom had saved (I'm so lucky she is a organized hoarder).

I cleared the top of the cubbies so that if students want to stand they can. The cubbies are also where we keep our book bins and what I've dubbed our "desk bins" - they hold all our notebooks and folders. The random little rocking chair looks kind of silly to me but the kids loved it. I think I got it in a thrift store my first year teaching. I would love to get a moon dish chair so I may or may not be searching Craigslist daily.
The black bins hold supplies -  1 supply box of crayons, glue sponge, and a cup with scissors. Students take as needed. This has been a hard one for me. I have been very particular about how they have retrieved supply bins up until this point. I'm trying to give up some control and see how they handle it. Students often surprise us!

Each of my students has a cup. They pick it up in the morning and put one pencil in it. I blogged previously about how I am winning the pencil war this year. I'm hoping this minor change doesn't throw a wrench in my victory!

It's only day 3 of our new classroom and I can't wait to see how we do for the rest of the school year. My hope is that this freedom gives all of my students - but especially some of my most unmotivated learners - something they may have been missing before at school.

Do you use alternative seating? I would LOVE to hear from you!

Here were my hesitations with bringing alternative seating to my classroom:
- my classroom (portable!) is small
- the boys I secretly really don't want anywhere near each other will always sit together
will I be able to handle my kids having so much freedom?
- what if they can't handle it!?

I'll be blogging about how these are panning out soon!

1 comment:

  1. How do you handle your whole group lessons? Do they gather on the carpet?