I have lots of fun seats in my room now, so of course, the students want to try them out! I decided when I first started that I would only use them for small groups and centers–otherwise, it would be a bit of a mess for whole group instruction, with students sitting at different levels. Here are a few ways I've let students try out the seats:
I choose two star students at the end of every music class, and they roll a die on my SMART board to find out what their reward is (i.e. prize box, Wild Ways certificate–which is a school-wide incentive, sticker, etc.) One of the rewards for 2nd-5th grade is “Special Seat.” In the past, I only had one comfy saucer chair, but now I have lots to choose from. The students are always super excited to roll this! The student who receives this is allowed to try out more than one seat during the class, as long as he/she is not distracting when switching between seats. (I've had to have a few conversations with students about appropriate bouncing on the exercise balls vs. distracting bouncing!)
I tried out the game “Scoot” with my 4th and 5th graders this year. The premise of this game is that they have a card at their seat with a certain number, and they answer that number question on their worksheet, and then scoot to the next question when it's time. I decided to do this with seats….so that each child was sitting on an exercise ball, a disc seat, etc., and then when they scoot to the next seat, they get to try out another seat! They really enjoyed this, and it made the assessment a bit more interesting and fun! Here is a picture of my 5th graders doing “Scoot”:
Centers are a great way to try out seats! I've done this in two ways. First, I tried having different seats at each center, and then students rotate to the next center and try out a different seat. With another grade level, I only had seats at one center. I had the students working on worksheets sit in wobble seats, and then when they rotated they had to leave the seats there. Let's face it, sometimes worksheets aren't quite as exciting as iPads or instruments, so this was a great way to make that center a bit more engaging!
In my music room, each class has an opportunity to receive 4 points every music class: 1 point for walking in quietly, 1 point for good effort, 1 point for listening well, and 1 point for lining up quietly. After they've filled up all their boxes on their chart (which typically takes about 8 or so lessons), I let them have half of the class (25 minutes) to vote on what they'd like to do for the rest of class. Several of the classes chose to sit on special seats while playing instruments, and I happily obliged! Of course, they had to be careful to choose a seat that was appropriate for that instrument, but it was a fun way to give them a reward!
Overall, I've really enjoyed having the seats. The students get SO excited to try them out, and as I wrote about in my last flexible seating post, it honors them as learners.
How have you introduced flexible seating? Feel free to comment below, and happy teaching!
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