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TheMercenary TheMercenary is offline
 
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flexible seating
Old 12-18-2019, 02:32 PM
 
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In one of my two districts this is the new big thing. Teachers say it gives the kids "ownership" of the classroom, and it empowers them. Kids are under tables, in corners, sprawled on pillows all over the floor. They get to change spots whenever they want. I am trying to figure out a nice way to let the teachers know what a disaster this is for the sub. (I am talking grades 3-5). Any ideas?


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MaineSub MaineSub is offline
 
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Ummm...
Old 12-18-2019, 02:50 PM
 
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Yes, this is a "trend" -- although my experience is that "flexible seating" (or whatever else it's called) only happens during certain activities/times... such as read to self. There is a certain logic to it, and it fits into the "shared classroom management" philosophy that I personally subscribe to... The kids don't have unlimited freedom, the teacher (or sub) can undo a student's choice if the kids choice isn't working well. (One example: two kids sitting next to each other in the corner and talking instead of completing the required task. "If you can't get the work done, we'll have to make a different arrangement...") It's empowering because the kids can earn the right to decide where they sit. But they can also lose that right. Perhaps because of that, I'm not sure I understand why it would be a "disaster" for a sub? What sort of problems is it creating?
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:19 PM
 
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I've seen this in one classroom in first grade, 22 kids. The students were very responsible and informed me they could sit anywhere during certain times. It would have been nice if the teacher had left a note saying so. For that class it worked but I'm thinking of 36 big kids in a typical-sized classroom and wondering where they would sit other than their chairs...there's no room!

I doubt the teachers will care if the subs don't like it.
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Old 12-18-2019, 03:53 PM
 
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If you have a bad experience in a flexible seating classroom, it's perfectly acceptable to explain that in a note to the teacher.

I have flexible/ alternative seating in K and explain expectations in my sub plans. I also say that if something is an issue there are extra "regular" chairs in the back of the room that can be put out.

It certainly is a philosophy about giving choice to students.
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Old 12-18-2019, 04:18 PM
 
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The only people with flexible seating in our building specify that kids don’t have that option with a sub in the room.


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Old 12-18-2019, 06:25 PM
 
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I would not sub for that teacher again. Hopefully, the other teachers don't do it, or have a better handle on it. I've never heard of it, but it sounds like a disaster to me, waiting to happen. Sounds like the newest fad idea.
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Old 12-18-2019, 11:26 PM
 
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In my district, it's become a universal trend to have desks connected to chairs and the entire setup is on wheels, so that kids can move their entire desk pretty much anywhere they want. I hate this #### so much, but it's everywhere now. Some of these things even have cupholders, which of course students fill with garbage.

For reference, they look like this: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachmen...7/ETH-18TC.png

I'd like to punch the person in the face who thought giving students seating freedom was what we needed in these schools instead of actual relevant funding or accountability or basic resources like office supplies or a pay raise. No. None of those things. This chair is what we need. This chair will solve everything. Let's give kids who are barely held accountable even more freedom.

Can't even use a seating chart anymore because half the time the kids just wheel themselves to the other side of the room. They rarely put their chairs back even when told to do so, so the room's just a mess of scattered chairs. It's stupid as hell imo and I miss the days of stationary desks in rows. Younger students always have to be stopped from playing bumper cars in the damned things and older students get a little too relaxed in them and wind up doing nothing because they've fallen asleep, or they try to enter netflix-mode, or they wheel themselves into a circle of desks with their friends and have to be broken up.



I've had classrooms that were half and half, and upon removing the moving desks (I was in the room long-term and actually had to get permission from ####ing admin to do this, lmao) and replacing them with some stationary ones, I noticed a marked improvement in those students since, gee, they weren't fidgeting and spinning around all the time and could actually pay attention. This "new age" stuff has got to go; so much of it is worthless. I know you're kinda talking about a different thing in your post, OP, but this is the middle school/high school equivalent in my mind and it's trash. I can't name a single beneficial thing about it, and it's probably more expensive too.
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Old 12-19-2019, 01:52 AM
 
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Great Post!
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TheMercenary TheMercenary is offline
 
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:01 AM
 
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Naturally, with flexible seating, there are no seating charts, and often not even any pictures of kids. Yet the sub plans invariably list anywhere from four to eight names (once it was eleven!) to keep an eye on constantly.

Lots of arguing over who gets the bouncy balls, the hooki stools, the tall chairs, etc. An incredible time waster.

Classroom management is so much easier when the kids are seated at desks, with names on a chart (or names on the desks). It makes for a much more productive day.
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Sublime, you're right!
Old 12-19-2019, 04:49 AM
 
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Quote:
I doubt the teachers will care if the subs don't like it.
I chuckled when I read that because I almost said exactly the same thing in my original comment. Teachers teach. Subs sub. It's unfortunate that teaching and subbing are often worlds apart. While I don't disagree that teachers can and should do things to make the sub's day easier, I'm not inclined to think we should expect them to adopt practices based on what's easy for us.

Personally, I have come to like the idea of flexible seating--it did take some getting used to and it does require some management but there are benefits that make it worthwhile including the fact that I no longer have to make sure the kids are in the right seats--I can focus on teaching and tasks. I will admit that educators are often attracted to fads but in the end, these changes aren't made to create difficulty for subs. They are made to improve the educational setting and teaching. (I will confess that in the past when I subbed in a highly structured classroom the kids would sometimes ask if they could change seats. I usually agreed to the change with some stipulations. So I guess I was doing flexible seating before it was called that. )

Sublime, to the question regarding big kids and small classrooms, I've found the kids get real creative--including stacking chairs to get them out of the way. We also allow teams/partners to work in the hallway. (My rule is that I have to be able to see you from the doorway and I do keep an eye out the door.) There's something really awesome about seeing a group of kids sitting on the floor in a circle, working together. At the end of the day, "We got the work done!" is much cooler than "We stayed in the right seats!"


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Old 12-19-2019, 07:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Classroom management is so much easier when the kids are seated at desks, with names on a chart (or names on the desks). It makes for a much more productive day.
Yep, I totally agree. I've subbed (elementary schools) in a few classes with flexible seating. Fortunately, full time flex seating is pretty uncommon in the district where I currently work. It's usually confined to silent reading time, computers, stations activities, and "free choice" time.

I always assign students to teams and use team points for classroom management. No matter where they sit, they still belong to the same team. I will also take away the flexible seating privilege from disruptive students. That's an option usually offered in the lesson plan.

I prefer assigned seating myself, but hey...as a sub I have to make do with whatever situation I'm in. I just have to be creative and come up with workable classroom management strategies to suit the circumstances.

The different seating arrangements is just one of many variables that can make this job challenging.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 12-19-2019 at 08:27 PM..
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Old 12-19-2019, 10:44 AM
 
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Probably why the older kids have this entitled mentality, nowadays (many of them). They're so used to getting everything they want.
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TheMercenary TheMercenary is offline
 
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Thank you!
Old 12-19-2019, 02:42 PM
 
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Good luck to these kids (a) in the workforce, and (b) in college, where they won't decide -- their boss / instructor will. I've been in rooms with the rolling chair/desks. You're right. It's a mess and I see no purpose to it, except to make lots of money for the companies that sell the stuff.
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Old 12-19-2019, 04:46 PM
 
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This has become the hot trendy thing to do with teachers begging parents for money for this.

I have had kids fighting over their favorite type of seating. I have yet to see a class be able to handle having choices with seating.

But nothing beats the third grade class I had. A student was permitted to make a “fort” out of the kidney shaped table. She had a flat sheet that she laid across the table, laid on a towel under the table, and used the floor as her desk.
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@bodhimom
Old 12-21-2019, 12:42 PM
 
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I think you nailed it right there. Was thinking the same thing.

It's like "Hey, let's give the kids more freedom than the adults have. That will teach them respect and humility!"

Schools have no idea how much they enable rotten behaviors these days.
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:39 PM
 
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Quote:
I'm not inclined to think we should expect [teachers] to adopt practices based on what's easy for [substitutes].
I don't think anybody is saying this. lol

Last edited by bodhimom; 12-21-2019 at 07:33 PM..
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