Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Alternative Seating in the Classroom

Why did I choose to have alternative seating options in my classroom?

Do we all learn the same?  NO!  With that being said, why do we expect all kids to learn in the same environment?  A few years ago I was inspired by two amazing teachers at my school.  I came in after a nice long summer break to see they had replaced the desks and chairs in the their rooms with lower tables, exercise balls, moon chairs, pillows, and other various seating options.
The light bulb went on!  Why do I expect all my students to sit in a chair and desk and learn?  At home I do my best work on the couch with the sound of the TV in the background...I would NOT learn best at a desk and chair.  So I too transformed my classroom.

I added the following items...

a futon. 
I allow two students to sit on here at a time.  Students can get clipboards or lap desks for writing, which ever they prefer.

lower tables and exercise balls.

moon chairs and cubes.
Again students can use clipboards or lap desks to write on.

even lower table and pillows.

Other seating options that are not pictured yet.  (I will post more pictures as my room continues to come together.)
1.  mini stools
2. bean bags

A lot of time is spent at the beginning of the year modeling expectations for sitting in a classroom like this.  I share with the students that they need to try out all spots and decide where they learn best.   When I notice that student is not on task I will have a discussion with that student about how this spot isn't helping them be the best they can and they are not learning all they can.  After time, conversations, and practice students fall into a routine of picking their spot and getting to work.  It is interesting to see how students will continually pick a spot that is best for them.
This is not to say that you will not have any behavior say so would be a fantasy.  We all know that no matter what setting you have in your classroom, kids will be kids and test the waters every now and again.  However, this arrangement is will provide a comfortable place where learning is conducive.

***Any student that would prefer a desk and chair is always welcome to one.***


  1. I'm so interested in alternative seating - I just can't wrap my brain around it yet...I've been wanting to do it for years now, and *think* I may take the plunge this next school year...still undecided....

    Your room looks awesome!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  2. I will never ever go back! I started slow. Balls at tables and desks, then gradually added in other options. At first I assigned students a place to sit for the day, now kids just come in and choose their place for the day. I love it!!!