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September Snapshot: Flexible Seating and Classroom Management

By Nicole Coppola

How can flexible seating be utilized to support classroom management? This September, I made some positive changes by incorporating flexible seating into my 6thgrade writing classroom.  The writing workshop model requires students to “come to the writing area” for instruction. Last year, students were dragging chairs to the instruction area from all over the room, creating chaotic transition times.  

Through a grant for flexible seating, from my district’s parent association, I purchased “Bolmen” bathroom step stools from IKEA, eight blue and eight white.  With the help of one of my district’s literacy coaches, I mapped out a routine and a seating chart for the transition to the instruction area. Designated students unstack stools and move them to the center of the instruction area, surrounded by benches and chairs.   The transitions have become calm and efficient routines. 

The IKEA stools also provide the students a choice to make their independent writing space more comfortable.  Because the stools are only about 10 inches tall, they are versatile.  Some students sit on the stools, lean against them, or use the stools as little desks while sitting on the carpet.  During partner activities, my directions are clear and simple, “The students on the blue stools share first. The students on the white stools listen.”  Student helpers stack stools at the end of each class.  Flexible seating has made a positive difference in my writing classroom. 

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