In 2nd grade, my students could be described as a mellow version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On one end of their complex little natures, they are eager to please and want to be successful at school. They protest when I insist they leave school for the day, and can be pleased with extra recess, pajama day, or even the simplest of stickers.
On the other hand, personalities and life experiences are shaping a newer, and older kind of student: ones that need extra patience and positive reinforcement while they experience new emotions.
Some days they fight with each other, and some days they fight even with me! But that doesn't define them as "bad" or "troublesome" kids.
When it comes down to it, at the end of each day, those same children will think of at least one positive thing from their entire day to share with the class. They will write about how they admire their parents, classmates or siblings and encourage one-another throughout the day. They mean the world to me, and will change the world for us if we help them now.
Flexible seating is a wonderful opportunity for students of all grade levels, but also poses many new considerations when planning for a smooth and effective year. The biggest challenge I have run into when setting this up is the lack of storage space for student materials. The traditional model of 1 desk per student is ideal in its simplistic but effective nature. Students store all materials needed throughout the day in their desk, and less time is spent on transitioning from task to task.
What the traditional model fails to offer is a critical element for students' success: student choice.
Flexible seating is one way to incorporate this aspect into the classroom. Flexible seating increases student productivity, and creates a strong classroom environment. When the students understand the basic set of rules associated with each seating area and how the seats are tools for their learning, not toys, they can experience their education in a much more approachable manner.
This type of seating also offers many opportunities for wiggle room, literally! Whole group instruction will still take place at the carpet by the white board, so students will get brain breaks and movement breaks often when transitioning from whole group instruction to their work places. Getting children up and moving helps them refocus and stay energized.
Having this single shelving unit will solve the problem of material storage and organization, as I will be able to house up to 28 students' things in one place.
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