So, what is flexible seating?
So, then, Mr. Greg, what is flexible seating?
Second, do you need to ditch the tables and desks for flexible seating?
HOW DO YOU INTRODUCE FLEXIBLE SEATING?
Here’s the answer! JUMP RIGHT IN! On day 1 as students arrive, I already have our carpets and clipboards and crayon boxes laid out around the classroom. As I greet students, I tell them they can pick any carpet and lie down or sit down and color. This eases them into the idea of carpets and working on the floor without the pressure/stress of trying to pick up a carpet and clipboard and finding a spot to work!
For flexible seating to be successful, you have to MODEL MODEL MODEL! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Just like every routine and procedure in the classroom.
What About Whole Group Lessons?
What About Breakfast And Snacks?
What about name tags?
Since we don’t have desks or tables, we don’t have name tags. Instead, we have a name chart on the wall. This gives the students a place to refer to when learning to write their names. The chart includes their name and picture!
What about supplies?
We use community supplies! Everything the kids need is on a shelf and they grab what they need!
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This is my goal this year Greg but I am worried about the technology around the room on the floor. I am thinking they need to be at a table when using a laptop or iPad. What are your thoughts?
I would love to embrace this too…or at the very least give them a choice between a table and the floor (only keep a table or two) I'm wondering how you do the really messy art projects with lots of pieces, glue, etc. Also, does everyone use the same mat every day? How often do you wash your bath mats? Thanks for providing us with inspiration!
Interesting idea! Sure does save a lot of space.
How do you handle party days and meet the teacher when there are lots of parents around and nowhere for them to sit? I have parents sit at tables to complete paperwork for me at meet the teacher. Party days the students use the tables to eat and open presents. I was also wondering if you use name tags in your classroom. My name tags are on my tables. Any ideas on where to put them if I go to a no table classroom?
I was going to put their name tags on their clipboards in their book boxes or cubbies.
I like that idea Jacqueline!
Hi Mr. Greg! I just read this post and have always wanted to get rid of tables. However … I always think about the students learning to write. Do you find that working on the floor makes it harder for students to learn proper letter formation? Thanks!
Actually laying on their stomach makes it easier for them to learn to write. There is research that supports this!
I tried flexible seating this year and it was somewhat hit and miss. I do have 4 tables so a lot of the kids chose to sit at tables. But what I struggled with most was where to put their work. I bought White cardboard bins and they put their work in them but although I had Community classroom supplies a lot of kids brought their own pencil cases and things like that. It was such a mess their bins were always overflowing and messy nd their work went missing a lot. What do you do with unfinished work personal items books they haven’t finished reading things like that?
Hey there, I just discovered your blog and I’m loving all the great things you have. I’m loving the idea of the flexible seating and have now for two years but I’ve been nervous to try it in Kindergarten. After reading this I really feel like I can jump in. My only question/concern is you said you have 1 table for your guided reading… Our reading program is designed so that we have 5 guided reading groups going at one time (I don’t really have a choice in this) for 30 minutes. Have you ever had your reading group NOT at a table? Do you think this would make it impossible for me to get rid of the tables?
I don’t understand how you can do 5 guided reading groups going at the same time. Guided reading requires us, the teacher, to be guiding the readers. Maybe shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and help us understand your questions! Happy to help with ideas, just a little confused by the question. Thanks Heather!!!
I don’t know about the doing 5 at once, but my mentor teacher when I was student teaching always did her guided reading on the floor. It was a first grade class and it worked great as long as you are comfortable being on the floor too! The kiddos just kind of sit in a circle , and we had clipboards and personal whiteboards for the kind of stuff you might need a table for.
I’m jumping in to flexible seating with my firsties this year. Your article is invaluable!! Thanks so much!
I love this idea. My question is about deciding they want to move after choosing an area to work. Do you have them choose a spot and stay there, or do they have the option to move once they’ve begun working?
They can move. Sometimes I require them to move if they haven’t made the best seating choice. (sitting next to a friend that I know will be keep them from working etc…)
Hi, I’ve been doing flexible seating for a few years now.. I offer standing tables (one child LOVES) and low (sit on pilolows on floor. No one likes the low table and by second semester the kids vote on what height they would like. No one ever votes for the lower height.), rockers, stools, balls, floor rugs, Adirondack chairs for kids, etc. I give each child two weeks to try everything. After that they know each option and make their own choices. When they are doing our scripted Reading/literacy/Handwriting/phonemic awareness and phonics, etc. where there is writing, by third and definitely by Fourth quarter, every child gravitates back to a table to write so I feel I must keep enough tables for all at this time. ☹️ Even during our Centers….if it is a writing activity, they go to a table. For other things they love the clipboards and other seating options,especially for reading, but rarely do they choose to just lie on the floor.
I’m wondering if I should have started it differently at the beginning of the year…. I do not have rugs for all(just 3). Would it make a difference if everyone had a rug as their home base? I’ve been teaching for 40 years and although I’ve put in $1000s for my kids, from the past, I don’t want to spend my money if it isn’t worth it. But if it will work….I know every year the kids enjoy and gravitate toward different things, so a new year will bring different likes and dislikes. Btw, I average about 15 kids a year at a very low paying Catholic school. What do you think?
My students don’t have a “home base.” They simply sit wherever they want whenever they are working independently or eating. The only time I direct them on where to sit is during whole group, they must sit in a circle, during small group they sit at my table and if they have made a bad choice and are sitting next to a friend that distracts them, I simply point it out to them and they move. Otherwise, I don’t ever direct them on where to sit.
At the beginning of the year, I model how to get a rug, clipboard and pencil/crayon/marker and sit on the rug to work. I then model how to put things up including how to roll up the rug. I have enough rugs for everyone to sit in the floor if they choose to do so. I would think by not having enough rugs for all your students to sit on the floor, that is probably why they are choosing to sit at tables and other options. I think that all the “stuff” is where some get bogged down and it becomes about the stuff and not about the student choice. Having so many options could be overwhelming and so they gravitate to a table. I hope that helps! If not or if I misunderstood your question, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll get back to you!
I hi! I have been following you for ever and love your teaching style. I want to give this a try but am a prekinder teacher and have not read any with flexible seating in prekinder.
where do I start and how?! I have 4 tables that take up a lot of space in a very small room.. do I keep 1 for art center or…..?!
I realize it’s my mindset I have to overcome first and the children will just naturally gravitate to the choice I’m thinking!
Your blog is so wonderful and full of amazing ideas! It has inspired me to make changes in my own classroom. For the upcoming school year I have purchased a small trampoline and just started purchasing bath mats that fit with my theme! My plan is to keep the tables I absolutely must have, but to have rugs for each student and start them out on those. We will only use the tables for guided reading and snack time. I’m hoping that by having this flexible option in my room my students will feel more at home.
Just a quick question for art time… I am wondering how you do the really messy art projects with lots of pieces, glue, etc. Do they do these projects on the bath mats as well?
Yes we do everything on the floor. For very messy projects, we have plastic trays we use, similar to lunch trays.
Hi! Could you give me the measurements for your rugs again? I bought 17×24 as mentioned in the blog and they turned out to be much smaller than the rugs in your pictures. Thanks!!
Hi Erin, maybe they are 17 X 48? I just purchased rugs that are large enough for the kids to sit on. I got them at Target & Walmart. Just shopped for the best deals I could find!!
iI do like flexible seating. However, not all children like to sit on the floor. It is not truly flexible seating if there isn’t a desk option. Desks are okay. They aren’t the enemy. We don’t have to throw out the old to bring in the new. We can nicely blend the two – at least I think so.
In our post we explain that we have a table for kids who choose to sit at the table. We also have a high top table and a stage and a big comfy chair for the kids to have choices!
I was wondering what you do when you give a test?
I began flexible seating last year as I removed half of my tables and incorporated other types of seating options through a donors choose grant. This year I found your blog! Thank you for helping me have the courage to remove the remaining large tables from the classroom! Immediately my room felt like a true kindergarten classroom full of space! I am hearing from our first grade team that I am not teaching them how to sit! What about next year and the ramifications on them? I am interested to hear your response to the naysayers.
I have never had a complaint from even 1 teacher about students not being able to sit at a table/desk. The students sit at tables during specials and lunch. They also sit at tables at home and restaurants. I don’t think students need to be taught how to sit at a table. In addition, when they came to me they weren’t taught how I wanted to manage my classroom, I had to teach them the procedures and routines of MY classroom. When they get moved to another classroom, the teacher for that classroom will teach them the procedures and routines for their classroom.
Again, I’ve been doing this for 7 years and never had even one complaint! They will be fine. 🙂
Hi y’all! This is my 2nd year doing flexible seating in kinder and have enough table spaces for about 12 kids. I am in an open concept school, but I teach kinder in a two block space. Two “walls” are cabinets, one brick wall, and one regular wall. My school flooded last year and we were displaced for the year. Now my promethean board is attached to the real wall and also happens to be the egress. The fire marshal was recently in and now I have to remove all shelving, etc. from that wall…lucky me! I’m trying to figure out how this will work now and am contemplating getting rid of more desks (assuming I can! 😬) so that I can put the shelving/storage things in the middle somehow. Can you please share how class parties work in your room when the parents are there? I saw someone above asked that question and I have searched this, but haven’t found a response. Do the kids use the trays and all sit in a circle on the floor and parents sit or stand behind them if they want? If so or not, how does it work and what is the parents response? Thank you so much!
We still have 2 tables in our classroom for those that choose to sit at a table. Those tables also have chairs. If there are a bunch of parents, we try to bring in some chairs from other places but 9 times out of 10, they sit on the floor with their kids, they stand or they sit at the tables/chairs already in the room. Don’t sweat it, it’s never, ever, ever been an issue at all. They don’t stay very long and those that want chairs, have them. 🙂
What do you do for meet the teacher when all of the parents have to fill out all of the paperwork without any tables? and class parties? I am really wanting to implement this next year!
I have a table that I use for guided reading, plus another small round table. Not everyone is there at the same time so any paperwork is easily filled out on those spots. As for parties, we do the same as we do for breakfast, the students use trays. If families attend, they find seating at one of the 2 tables or they sit in other areas of the room.
Love your blog! Thanks for sharing!! Quick question… so your students are working on their rugs and it’s time to come together for a mini lesson or such. Do they clean up their area and gather in the circle for the lesson, then got the materials back out? Just trying to figure out transitions.
What do think is the highest grade this learning environment will work? 4th?
My daughter’s middle school (small, private school, so only one 6th, 7th, and 8th at the time) utilized flexible seating and the kids LOVED it! Couches, coffee tables, bar top tables/chairs, traditional classroom tables/chairs, rugs for floor seating…
My biggest question that is did not see answered yet, is what about parent orientation, holiday parties, and end of year celebrations. Those are the 3 times of the year that I am nervous about this set up. I just got rid of 2 tables and have that question now.
They simply sit where ever seating is available. If there are specific needs, I am sure to have items on hand to meet those needs. However, I do have some chairs and 2 tables in my room that I use for small group. That is usually sufficient for our needs.
I am really thinking about doing this in the upcoming year but I am worried about class parties…how does that run for you? Thanks!
Never had a problem in all the years I’ve done no tables no chairs.
Where did you get those name tags that use their pictures?
It’s just a font called FSF Letterbox from Graphics From The Pond. You can get it on Teachers Pay Teachers.
[…] years. We put these down when we paint and it makes clean up a snap. It’s perfect for our no desks/no tables classroom! The pumpkin outline you see here is from Creative Clips on TPT but you can use any printable […]