Our students are from all over town. They are energetic, driven to succeed, and most importantly want to include everyone. Our school has a functional district program that caters to students with lower functioning IQs to the most gifted students in the county and everyone in between.
It is important to our students that everyone feels accepted.
There are many ways to make a student to feel like they belong. Today it is difficult for every student to sit straight for 50 minutes and not loose focus. Students try to incorporate different learning styles and the teachers are trying to reach more and more students.
This year, ten teachers are working to shift their philosophy on teaching from traditional teaching to a universal approach. This is called Universal Design for Learning. UDL is a standards based lesson planning tool that requires educators to look at all learners as individuals. One aspect of UDL is the classroom environment and recognizing that every student may need something unique to help them learn.
As a result, two teachers in the UDL professional development would like to start incorporating flexible seating into their classrooms.
They each would like a class set of “wiggle seats,” which are therapeutic inflatable cushions. These teachers have read research about the use of flexible seating (“wiggle seats”) and exercise bands in the classroom, which has inspired them to make their classroom universal for different types of learners and students.
This “wiggle seats” are used in classrooms across the US because they provide a solution for students with sensory needs, but also have health benefits. Students activate their core, which leads to better posture while sitting on them.
The flexible seating would address students with sensory needs, but may also help with students that have “behavior issues”. As members of PBIS and students of the UDL training, both teachers would like to incorporate this seating to see if it is a solution for students that are less engaged and that wander around the room (needing constant redirection).
After taking the UDL training last year and being signed up for the UDL PD again this year, both teachers would like to implement this flexible seating in my classroom for students with sensory needs. Not only will this ensure that the teachers are making their classrooms more inviting and engaging for students, but it will also help each teacher reach their goals as educators.
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