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Flexible Seating – A Semi-Flexible Approach

January 15, 2019 2 min read

So I haven’t totally bought into the idea of flexible seating quite yet … I seem to see a lot of teachers struggle with various aspects of it (discipline, students being too chatty, lack of respect for furniture, and admins not allowing it). Maybe one day I’ll change my mind, and maybe one day my admin will allow me to do flexible seating (should I go that route), but for now, I’ve come up with something that works perfectly fine for my kids.

I call it, semi-flexible seating.

And I love it because it’s easy and doesn’t cost a dime.

The concept is simple. Students have the choice to either be in a table group or in rows.

It works like this … I have my students write the following information on an index card, and I do my best to accommodate their requests when I make a new seating chart:

  • Would you prefer to sit in a table or a row?
  • Where in the classroom do you prefer to sit? Front? Near the window? Away from the window? Etc.
  • Who do you work best with in our class?
  • Who would take away from your ability to learn in class? (This is generally their friends that they would talk to too much.)
  • Is there anything else I need to know about your seating preference? (i.e., you wear glasses, so you really do need to sit in the front of the classroom or you’re left-handed, so please place my seat so I’m not hitting elbows with someone who is right-handed, etc.)

Once students have handed in their index cards, I go to work creating our seating chart. I use PowerPoint to do this – it makes it much easier to move students around and figure out a semi-flexible seating arrangement that works!

Here’s a picture of what this actually looks like in my classroom.

Flexible seating in middle school - a semi-flexible approach!

As you can see, the desks in the front of the image are my students who are in groups, and the rest of the desks are in partnered rows.

Using this system, I’m still able to use my table points system (which you can learn more about in this IGTV video here) as well as my favorite classroom management strategy for middle school.

Go ahead and try it! It’s simple, easy, and free 🙂 The best of all worlds!

Caitlin

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