Week One: Reflections and Celebrations
It has been an awesome first full week of school. I'm exhausted, but I'm also really motivated by the success flexible seating has had so far. Here are some of my reflections for those interested in going down this path:
1) Yoga balls are not for the everyone. Specifically, not for me.
What's a flexible seating classroom without yoga balls, right? Sadly, not for me. This is a clear case of "it's me, not you." The kiddos did pretty well with them, always appropriate, but it drove me nuts. My tolerance for middle school movement is pretty high, but that was cancelled out by my fear that someone was going to fall. Some students aren't going to be happy, but I'm hoping they like my replacement idea of floor cushions for the carpet area in quadrant 4.
2) Dividing the room into Quadrants was vital.
I've divided the room into quadrants, each with a different type of seating. Quadrant four is kind of a catch all with some rug seating, a high table, and also a short table with stools. I use the quadrants for checking in with students, dismissing them, etc. It also keeps the floor from being overly cluttered. I also taped in a "yellow brick road" in front of the computer cart to keep the line moving.
3) Numbers make procedures easy.
I've never had a group who so easily took to the routines and procedures of a classroom. I assigned them a number based on their place alphabetically. They use this number to place their magnet in the quadrant where they are going to sit, it is the number for their computer, and it is their "sound off" attendance number (they just count off, and I note who is missing). I timed it today. It took less than four minutes for an entire class of students to come in, mark where they were going to sit, grab a computer, and I took attendance. I'm loving this!
I also go the chance to chat with some students in a smaller setting. The quadrant who built the highest overall tower were given passes to bring their lunch down to my room, and I provided donuts and hot chocolate to celebrate. The students were very chatty about the flexible seating, and they were very excited about the change. I'm going to do some interviews next week for my ShareMyLesson blog, so I'll share that here later as well.
Students began writing their Credo (statement of their beliefs) essays, and will finish on Monday. Tuesday we're doing a little editing, and they will submit by the end of the day. They will move on to create their first presentation while I pull them aside for specific feedback regarding their essays. I'm excited to see how presentations go with such an array of seating.
Stay tuned for interviews next week.