I have always given my students choice when it comes to the carpet or table spots to work. They have assigned table spots usually, but they can almost move to another spot on the floor if needed. I have had clipboards from the beginning (9 years ago) to offer to students when needing to work in space that is not a desk.
I have been watching and loving other options teachers are sharing. This fall our district’s physical therapists shared a slideshow on seating with every teacher via email. Some maybe didn’t open it, but I did. My mom is one of the physical therapists, so I had better:)
Their main objective was to share that students focus better when their feet are able to be flat on the floor when in a chair. They wanted teachers to check students desk chairs at the beginning of the year. Think about our seating as teachers. We know about ergonomics and comfort; why wouldn’t students want the same? So I went around during a work time and just checked how many students could touch their feet flat on the floor while doing desk work. Guess how many…
Three of my students were sitting in chairs that were appropriate for them! I’ve been teaching third graders for 4 years already, and for 4 years I knew the chairs were a bit big for some, but I didn’t realize that so few of them had their physical needs met at their table. This put a fire in my belly. I immediately asked my principal if I could order new chairs. I got the go ahead. However, in my research I found so many options. Clearly I still needed to be economical, so I decided to figure out what my school already had. Lucky for me, a colleague used to teach 4th grade and used yoga balls with the legs. So I had access to about a class set of those. However, I contacted a special education teacher friend of mine, Stephanie, and she shared what alternative seating she had in her classroom. One was the Zuma Rocker Chair.
I looked into it, and it was only $20 more than the standard chairs I would have bought. So I ordered six of those for a little over $400. Then I went to the storage room and found the yoga balls ready for the day I’d need them. I also read Kayla Delzer’s article Why the 21st Century Classroom May Remind You of Starbucks that showed her alternative set up also. One of the tables she showed is almost on the floor with just pillows to sit on. So I wanted to do one of those as well. I also planned to play with my tables’ heights to see if a standing desk would be an option.
In my classroom I have 8 trapezoid tables that typically arrange in 4 hexagons. I move it into a U shape for the spring semester too.
I decided to wait until my rocker chairs would arrive to introduce all types of seating. My plan is to have a week of experimenting with the seating “tool” options my students have. Now to just wait and transform!