#SOL18 Flexible Seating, Flexible Thinking

I am so lucky! I am one of the classrooms in my district piloting brand new, beautiful furniture that emphasizes flexible seating options. Today I had the opportunity to see my new furniture for the first time in my classroom. Helpful custodians assisted me in rearranging a few items and now everything is in place- furniture-wise. There is still so much to do in regards to organizing, decorating, and getting the classroom ready for my 24 third graders. There is also much to do in the way of thinking through potential problems and possible solutions. 

Name tags taped down on the desk or table always helped students initially find a spot on the first day of school. It also helped me get to know students' names and match their faces to the name. Students are assigned a number and they learned their number because it was on their name tag. How would I learn their names without desk tags? How would they learn their numbers? How would I match names to faces without the name tag? 

Thinking through this issue, I decided to make desk tags with names and numbers, as I always do. I just won't tape them down. The first day of school, each student can find a spot by finding his/her name. Then, we will have opportunities to talk about flexible seating and how this will all work! The next day, students desk tags will be moved to another spot, giving them a chance to experience another seat. After a few days of putting name tags out, we will transition to students finding their own space. Name tags will be hung on a ring and available if a student needs to see the name or their number. 

There are lots of other situations to think through. How will students access all their individual supplies? How will we deal with children rolling around (chairs have wheels) or fighting over spots? This whole new classroom set-up requires flexible thinking- understanding that there WILL be hiccups but as a classroom community, we will come up with solutions. It's not about fancy new furniture- it's about creating a classroom that supports innovative thinking, isn't bound by traditional structures, and allows students space to discover their best learning styles. I know this year will push me to think more deeply and more flexibly. I am excited for this new challenge!


  1. I am sure your students will love it, as will you! I post the names on the door with their number, but the students make their own name tag on blank card. Students choose their spot each day as they walk in. Their cubbies outside the room are in number order and they made those labels with their name and number. We only use community supplies so there is a pencil/pen cup at each table and the rest of the supplies they can all access on shelves. You will figure out what works for you:)

  2. Kathleen, good for you. It is a bold step to remake your classroom but it will be so worth it. Flexible seating is a way to have children choose their learning lifestyle and collaborate with others. Have you read Debbie Diller's book, "Spaces and Places"? She has wonderful ideas about learning spaces and helped my elementary teachers recreate their classrooms. Have fun this year. I look forward to hearing more about your new classroom.

  3. As I read through your slice, I kept thinking, "Furniture's not the only thing that's flexible here!" Then, your last paragraph delivered the payoff punchline :) Best to you and yours in this newly appointed setting!


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