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Well, I went and did it. I jumped head-first into Flexible Seating {despite the Type A side of me that screamed “NOOOOOOOO!” for the months leading up to it}. Our school’s PTO granted each grade level a budget, so I spent the entire week of Spring Break this past year turning my classroom into a flexible seating classroom. I also spent lots and lots of time hashing out the logistics of it all. I wanted to make sure I addressed my biggest concerns: management of choosing and expectations {and consequences if they are not met}.

First of all, I want to say that I LOVE flexible seating. I love the choice and I love how easily it can be done. It does NOT have to be complicated. Or expensive. But you have to have a plan, especially for the younger kiddos.

First, I wanted to create a visual system that would be easy for us to make our choices. A pocket chart is what I came up with. {How creative! Ha!} But it made sense for what I was going for. I have pictures of each of my choices on little cards and on the bottom right corner, I have a number. That number represents how many of that choice there is. For example, you can see the first choice in my picture below is the lap desks. There are 5 lap desks — and you can see that number 5 down in the bottom corner. Next to the card with the picture of the choice are little library pockets that I have cut down to fit inside of the pocket chart without them overlapping. I also cut a “V” down the center, so that it’s easy to get the cards out of them. However many spots there are for each choice, that is the number of library pockets I put next to them.

Down below, you can see the kids’ name cards. I split up my class into 5 groups of 5 {one group of 6, since I had 26 kiddos}. Each group was given a color. The color groups have nothing to do with academics, but you could certainly group your kids as you would for your literacy or math small groups, whatever is easiest for you. Once we had our color groups, I wanted a way to allow each group to choose that would be FAIR. I didn’t want the red group to be choosing first every day. So, we do a rotating choice chart.

On Monday, red group gets to choose first, followed by orange, then yellow, then blue, and finally, green. Then, Tuesday, orange group would get to choose first, followed by yellow, then blue, then green, and finally, red. So, each day, each group chooses in a different order. None of the groups are “always” first and none of the groups are “always” last. It worked perfectly! Each day, I just move down the number cards and bring the last one up to the top. The cards have little pieces of sticky velcro on the back, so it’s very easy to move them around each day. I move them at the end of the day every day so that when they come in the next day, they know exactly what seat they chose for that day.

You will notice in the pocket chart that there are choices that have the “CLOSED” card inserted into the pockets. Those particular ones were closed this day because we didn’t have them yet! I was building some anticipation for them by showing what was coming, with the hopes that it would curb unwanted behavior at the other choices. {It totally worked, by the way.}

Which brings me to my next point — expectations. DO NOT SKIP THIS. I introduced my choices one or two per day. Each day, we would talk about the choice and we would come up with expectations that would make sense for that choice. For example, for our scoop rocker, we came up with the following rules:

I typed them up and printed them at 50% {to save space on my wall} and hung them up. So the next day, the expectations were there in the room where they could see them. We agreed that anyone that did not follow these expectations would be moved. And it’s very simple, I do not give warnings. The printed rules are the warnings. So if I catch anyone breaking the rules, they are immediately moved. This may seem harsh, but trust me when I say that it is totally effective! If students consistently abuse a particular option, I “close” it by putting the little “CLOSED” card in the spots. They have to earn it back. Fortunately, I did not have to close any of my choices due to behavior issues this past year! Hoping to continue that trend through the this school year.

I created an edtiable packet of all of the things you see here. You can create name cards for your students and edit the color name {you can change it to any group name you want — so if you’re using animals, shapes, or numbers for your groups, you can edit them to reflect your group names}, you can edit the name of the seating options {some people call them all different things, so I wanted to make it easy to customize for your classroom!}, and you can also edit everything on the rule posters. Click here to check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers!

If you’ve been thinking about moving to flexible seating — I say GO FOR IT! Dive right in. I hope these management ideas will help you in your classroom! Good luck!

 

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