My Journey into Flexible Seating

WOW! I can't even believe I haven't blogged a single thing since this summer! Like many teachers, I felt super overwhelmed at the beginning of this year and poured all my focus into my classroom and students. Now that we are half way though the year, I have learned so much about my students, my classroom design and teaching practices. I am really excited to share so many things with you all in 2017! 

One HUGE step I took this year was with Flexible Seating. If you follow me on Instagram, I am sure you have seen many pictures of my classroom. I did a lot of research this summer reading articles, applying for Donor's Choose grants, and going to GoodWill! 

Kayla Delzer, of Top Dog Teaching, was my huge inspiration! Her article on Edutopia is a must read for anyone wanting to start flexible seating. I started pinning stuff on Pinterest and adding it to my Classroom Organization board. 

After all this, I spoke with my principal and told her my plan. I asked her if I could get rid of desks and move my classroom toward flexible seating. My principal gave me the green light which was awesome! I went right into my classroom and got to work! I immediately started getting rid of desks. I can't believe it, but I ended up getting rid of 18 desks and found some tables no one was using!

All I could think about each day was my design and how I was going to make it work. I shopped a lot and tried to not spend every penny I had! After a few weeks, my classroom was perfect! I was super excited to share it with my students and their parents at meet the teacher.

The day had come for meet the teacher and my new students were super excited! The parents, on the other hand, had a lot of questions! "Where is their seat?" "Where do they keep their things?" "How does this work?" I made sure to answer each and every parent question and did my best to assure them that everything was going to be ok! 

Over the first two weeks with the students we spent a lot of time on procedures, expectations, rules, and consequences. Together we moved furniture around to make sure it fit the needs of the classroom. This is one of the best things about flexible seating!

One of the biggest procedures I have is how to select a seat. To me, flexible seating is just that...flexible! My students do not select seats and stay in them the whole day, week, month of whatever time frame other teachers use. They pick a seat every time we move and do a lesson. Whenever I do a whole group lesson, students either sit on the rug in the front or the large rectangle table. When I move into small groups or partner activities they choose wherever they want to sit. For every time I do a whole group lesson we follow these same patterns. My students do not argue, fight, save seats or get mad if someone else is sitting where they want. With a lot of practice and setting expectations, this behavior was easy to set in place! 

Taking a look:)
Since I took these pictures, I have moved a few things around! I also got one more Donor's Choose project funded and we will be getting 6 new chairs! I'll make sure to post another update soon!

 Welcome to my classroom!

Student sign in

 Student sign in area
 Drawer for student homework slips
 My desk area
 My desk area
 Classroom games

 Small group table
 Weekly Focus Wall
 Math Wall

 1:1 Chrome Cart!!!
 Student Cubbies

 Student Cubbies

 Front teacher area

 4 Yoga pads and Yoga mats

 Corner View 1
 Corner View 2
 Corner View 3
Corner View 4

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment! 


Life has been so busy over the past two weeks! If you follow me on IG, you know I have been super busy in my classroom setting up! We go back...TUESDAY! We have four days of trainings, meetings, and workdays, meet the teacher is Thursday and then kids come MONDAY! 

I am in love with how my room is turning out. I am giving flexible seating a try and super excited to see how it goes. I will blog more later on my flexible seating and classroom reveal soon! 

Last year I blogged about starting a VIP table. You can read about it here. Overall, the VIP table went well last year. As a class we talked about what would make a VIP and created a word cloud together. 

I picked two students each day to sit at the table with our new ball chairs. They had fun chains to wear, a box of cool materials, and sometimes I would leave candy. 

Every morning on the daily message I would tell the kids who the VIP's were for the day. I kept a Google Spreadsheet of who has been VIP. 

Like I said, it went well...for awhile. Here are some of the things I sit back on and reflect from last year.

  • sometimes the kids didn't like who they sat by
  • I would sometimes forget to update the supplies or leave a treat
  • the table took up too much room in the classroom! Fifth graders get SO big after winter break! 
  • I started picking kids for the sake of picking kids
  • It started to lose its value about mid year. The spark was gone and they didn't really care about it. 
Most of this was my fault. I plan on being better about it this year. The part that I am so excited to change is the table.

You see, with doing flexible seating this year I don't have a special table just for the VIP. The chairs in the picture are actually a spot for anyone to use. I still wanted to do the VIP but had to think of something creative. I thought a VIP box would be perfect!

I had this blue shoe box, bought from Target of course, in my classroom and felt it was perfect! I added things I had already and new items I bought inside the box. 

In order to make this VIP box work, I knew I needed to add some directions inside. This is what I came up with. I printed it in black and white on card stock and then added some color:)
I created the materials list from what I added to the box. On the first week of school, we will pick some music together and add to my iPod...I made a mistake and write iTouch. Oh well! 

I also changed the fact I want some input of who they think should be the next days VIP. We will discuss this together. 

I am really excited about having a VIP Box instead of a table!

Would you like to try the VIP Box? I would love to hear about how you would use this in your classroom. Leave a comment with your email and I will send you my editable VIP Box labels so you can create your very own!

Have a great rest of your weekend!

40 Book Challenge {100% PAPERLESS}

I am SO excited to bring you something special today! 

Last year, I read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller and I was HOOKED! It changed my whole thinking about the way I was teaching reading...and I have a Masters in reading instruction! 

So I went on Teachers Pay Teachers and found what I thought was an awesome resource to go with my 40 Book Challenge. I required students every day to write down what they read for homework, do a book review after every book, do book projects after every 10, I gave points, took points away, graded and used rubrics. This was EVERYTHING Donalyn said NOT.TO.DO!

I failed, bad! I never checked their logs and students lost their love of reading. I love the whole idea and concept behind the 40 Book Challenge so I knew I had to do something different. 

My school is trying to go as paperless as possible. Each student in my class has their own Google Drive and their own Weebly portfolio. I do not use Google Classroom but have Hapara, a teacher dashboard for Google. I am able to send students Google Docs, Slideshows, Forms, and more. I can also monitor what they are doing. I love it. 

So I decided to make a change with my challenge this year and go paperless! 

My goal for this year is to:
Research books we want to read and create a TBR list
Biweekly student lead book chats during lunch
Recording a book when they are done, not every day
Setting their own goals for books read
Celebrate accomplishments after reading books
Blogging about our reading
Using our creativity and design a project once a quarter

Every student will have a Book Chart to place a sticker on every time they finish a book!

At the end of every month we will count how many books we have read as a class and display it. 

I have these in a PDF and an editable PowerPoint. 

On the PDF, I have a link to my Google Slideshow!

In this slidesshow, students will:
Design their cover page to reflect them as a reader
Reading interest survey
Set goals for themselves about how many books they want to read
Record their reading after every book and give it a rating
Learn about different genres of reading
Create a TBF (to be read) list
End of the quarter reflections

I also have links on the slideshow for teachers. These links will show you how I use Padlet in the classroom to build a community of readers, how students use their Weebly portfolios to blog about their reading, and how I use my classroom website to set up biweekly book chats! 

Would you like to try this in your classroom? Click HERE and you can download it for free:)

If you download, please read carefully and follow my terms of use!

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, or suggestions on using the 40 Book challenge! 

Thanks for stopping by!