My technology lab is constantly changing. I am always on the lookout for new, inventive ways to, not only help my students become more productive, but to help them be comfortable in their learning environment. I want my students to WANT to be in my classroom. Probably the largest transformation that my lab has undergone is when I got rid of desktops and brought in Chromebooks. The lack of wires freed us up for incredible things!
It has taken my classroom from this.....
With no restriction from wires I was able to begin moving away from the static tables and chairs and move toward a more lounge like feel. I came across Kayla Delzer at Top Dog Teaching. Not only is she an AMAZING, INSPIRATIONAL educator, whom you should definitely follow, but she is a flexible seating guru with research to prove it! As soon as I read her Edutopia article on redesigning your classroom to meet student needs, I was hooked! I began moving out those boring old tables and chairs and replacing them with anything I could find...literally...that I thought a student may like to sit on or stand at!
My classroom is now a place of engaged, mobile learning, where the students choose where to sit. Their options include, but definitely aren't limited to stability balls, booth seats, crate seats, yoga mats, standing tables, the stage, and a comfy couch and chair that we lovingly call our "living room."
Having flexible seating allows me to put more power in the students' hands...and we all know with more power comes more responsibility! Flexible seating doesn't mean my classroom is a free for all! It's actually the exact opposite! My classroom is quite possibly more well managed than it may look from the outside! We spend the first few weeks trying out each type of seat, going over expectations, discussing what it means to be productive and figuring out how we can choose the best seat for ourselves that helps us to be productive. We have a lot of discussion on how it may not mean sitting beside your "BFF" but instead sitting somewhere where you will be the best you! It is amazing how quickly they catch on and begin finding their own little "niche!" Occasionally, we do refer back to our expectations and assess our seating choice, just to be sure we are all in a productive place. Our main rules:
It's amazing the transformation flexible seating has made on my classroom! My students are comfortable, engaged, and in control! Some walk into my room and think I'm crazy, because, let's be honest, you may see this.....
but what I see is two fifth grade boys actively engaged in what they are working on! (P.S. Who needs shoes when you're working so hard!?!)