Flexible seating is all the rage, but we’ve been using the philosophy in our classroom for years. While it would be nice to have a variety of seating options, we know it’s not always possible, but you can still have seating options without spending a dime.
Have you ever tried asking your students to find a place to sit and work? Try it! You’ll be surprised by all the places they’ll find to do their work.
Need a hard surface for writing? Can’t afford laptop tables or clipboards? Textbooks or large books work just as well.
Don’t want kids sitting on a dirty floor? Make “cushions” by wrapping newspapers or old towels in a plastic bag and masking tape it shut. It makes a durable, waterproof, somewhat softer than just sitting on the floor cushion. If you want a fancy one just search how to make a sit upon. There are lots of recipes out there that you can make WITH your students.
Another option is to have tablecloths or picnic blankets available. These can be tossed in the wash when they are dirty. We also contacted a carpet store one year and asked if they would donate their out of stock carpet swatches. We were given 30 squares of the ugliest carpet that we used for all kinds of seating. FREE! And most of the squares have lasted several years.
Arrange your desks or tables to naturally provide alternative places to sit such as in groups or individual spots.
Establish the 5Ws.
Where can students sit/not sit? It’s important to provide limits.
What is the expectation of work that will be done? You know what your students should finish. If they aren’t getting the work done, the seating option isn’t working properly.
Who can sit together/not together? Some students need more help than others learning who they can work with.
When will flexible seating take place? It doesn’t have to be all the time.
Why is flexible seating an option? Why are you doing this? Does it work?
We even wrote a letter to parents one year explaining what we were trying to do and allowed students to bring items from home to make seating more comfortable. We got donations of a yoga mat, two blankets, a few chair pillows and a small bench. We realize this isn’t an option for everyone, but it might be a place to start-especially if you’re experimenting with the concept. If you can show that it works when you have no budget, your administration might be willing to pay for some of the big ticket items to bring your ideas to light.
Have other inexpensive ways to make flexible seating happen? Be sure to share your ideas in the comments below.