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iTeach4joy iTeach4joy is offline
 
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"flexiblish" seating/ no assigned seats
Old 08-15-2018, 06:41 PM
 
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I was wondering if anyone lets their children choose seats without the traditional flexible seating choices. I just wanted to give students more choice, and tie responsibility for learning to the privilege of seat choices. Choices will include table seats with chairs, single desk seats, and a few stools, rug, and milk crate stools. Basically, I am keeping the same lay out but want to try nit giving students assigned seats. How do you keep unpopular kids from feeling left out? How do you set up and manage. Should I allow change each day, period, or week? How do you support students in transitioning quickly?


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Old 08-18-2018, 05:33 AM
 
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I have assigned seats, which is where they have to be for substitutes and on test days. During independent work, they can move. I have quads of desks, a single desk, a table, two standing desks, and floor space.
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:08 AM
 
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Thank you, Ima Teacher, for the substitute seats! Once I know a class, I'm happy to let them move around, but it is really helpful to have assigned seats when learning names.

Other than that, iTeach4joy, I think it's a great thing to try!

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How do you keep unpopular kids from feeling left out?
Don't borrow trouble. Wait and see if things shake out OK, and if not, deal with it on a case-by-case basis. If someone is getting left out, figure out who they might get along with, and pair them up for a project or partner activity.

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How do you set up and manage. Should I allow change each day, period, or week?
For set-up, I would have everyone rotate through the different types on a schedule for the first day or two, so they see what they like and don't like. Then, I think maybe half-days?

If you have some really popular options that are getting taken first thing in the morning before all the buses have arrived, I'd make some sort of waiting list for the afternoon slots.

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How do you support students in transitioning quickly?
Figure out a short song to play whenever you change, and they have to be in place by the end of the song?
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:49 AM
 
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I think of flexible seating as opportunities for choice and alternative seating as something other than desks. So I do flexible seating but not a lot of alternative seating. Pillows if they want to sit on the floor and desks at standing, sitting, and kneeling height.

They get to pick the type of desk but it’s theirs. The flexible is that they’re allowed to pick their desk or somewhere else during any independent work time. I tried 100% flexible with no home base and it really stresses out about half the kids.

For transitioning, we practice transitioning from whole group to independent work and I release a few at a time so that different kids get to pick first at different times. If they haven’t found a spot within a count of fifteen, they default to home base.

They get to keep their alternative spot for the duration of the task, but when we come back to whole group and get released again, someone else is able to pick that spot. I kee an eye out for kids who use power dynamics to ensure no one picks their spot even if they get released last.

When picking a choice spot, they must sit no closer than fingertip to fingertip for individual work. Groups must sit EEKK (elbow to elbow and knee to knee) and in a different section of the room than any other group.
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Assigned
Old 08-19-2018, 05:19 AM
 
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I always have assigned seats at the start of the year. At first, I also assign groups and really do not let them move all that much. As I get to know the classes, I might let them move depending on if they can handle it. I would never let my middle school students pick their own seats until I know they could handle it. If you do let them pick their seats and they can't handle it, they get mad at YOU for moving them. It's just not worth the hassle to me.

After I get to know my classes, I might make some seating changes. However, at times I might move everyone depending on how it is going. Flexible seating is not an option for me due to space. Also, the thought of it gives me hives. We have a few teachers doing it and it seems like it only works with more mature classes. I think the general rule is "you can have the choice as long as you can handle it."

I would try to group up the quieter kids with nicer more outgoing kids. It is not always going to work, but it might!


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