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7 Ways to Use Flexible Seating to Create a Positive Learning Environment
Episode 1022nd August 2023 • The Social Studies Teacher Podcast • Kirsten Hammond, The Southern Teach
00:00:00 00:11:01

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Are you tired of the traditional classroom setup? Do you want to create a positive and engaging learning environment for your students?

Flexible seating is a growing trend in education that focuses on providing students with a variety of seating options to enhance their comfort, focus, and collaboration.

Join me as we delve into the seven best ways to incorporate flexible seating into your classroom and watch as your students thrive in a dynamic and empowering educational setting.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • the benefits of flexible seating
  • 7 ways to create a differentiated learning environment through flexible seating

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Kirsten 1:06

This is the social studies teacher podcast a show for busy elementary teachers looking for fun and engaging ways to easily add social studies into their classroom schedule without feeling overwhelmed or pressed for time. I'm curious to know if you southern teach an educator and mom who is passionate about all things social studies, I love sharing ideas and strategies that are low prep and easy to implement. So let's dive in together.

Hey, there hope you're having a great week so far. Welcome to another episode of the social studies teacher podcast. Today's topic is all about creating a learning environment that is suitable for all students in your classroom. One way to create a learning environment that all students love is through flexible seating. But I know this can be a buzzword that's thrown around a lot. So I wanted to share with you what this really means.

flexible seating allows students to have a choice in who they work with and where they work. It allows them to change their location and positions as needed. So while you might have your traditional desks and tables, you can still utilize flexible seating, where they're sitting on the floor or in beanbags.

There's a few benefits to incorporating flexible seating, even if it's just for a little bit in your day. One way is physically it's, it improves physical health students are able to walk around as needed and move around. It can also increase comfort. If a student is uncomfortable, they're probably unproductive or distracted. And then also it encourages community and collaboration with other students. It kind of helps build that sense of community in the classroom. Today, I'm going to be sharing with you seven strategies that works really well in creating a learning environment that supports all students, all learners.

The first way can be using reading pairs or reading groups. This is great for students who like to be really social. If you think about it, I mean, when we're in our PD or we're you know, as adults, we also enjoy learning and working alongside our friends and colleagues. Children are the same way. So building in something like having reading groups or reading pairs, like you know, side by side reading can help students scratch their social itch while also enjoying those books that they love to read at the same time. So it's a win win for everybody.

A second way to differentiate would be just to allow Ask students to work independently. So if we're going to talk about, you know, students wanting to be social and being able to read with Buddy, then we also have to include a system that will let students work independently. Not everybody likes to be social or really wants to work with other people. I'm that way. And I know many kids are that way as well. So these type of people might need their own space to think and process things, trust me as somebody who would prefer to work by herself as a kid. And as an adult, at times, it's definitely much needed.

The third tip I have for you is to allow students to work around the room. Think about it, if you've ever needed a change in where you're working, maybe instead of working at your desk, you decide to work on your bed, kind of like how I'm recording this podcast episode. Students need to do it as well. So that's why I like to set up different spaces around the room, so that they don't always have to be stuck at their desks, they can work under their desks, they can work in a library, they can work at the small group table. And this is it for like, every single activity that I have, I've always set up my classroom so that, you know, there's a lot of space for students to work around the room, as I call it. So as long as where they're working, keeps them focused and productive, I say, let it happen. And then kind of moving in to where they can work.

Another spot could be working under their desks. So this is another way to create a learning environment that is accommodating to other students. And this could be kind of silly looking, you know, you have a teacher or admin or parent walking in and seeing a child under their desk, but it is okay, they're safe, they're supervised, they're getting their work done, and they're in a spot where they're familiar with. So I say why not. letting them work under their desks can help them get their sillies out and it gives them that feeling that they're working in a fort. So it works like a charm, you can always tell them like little forts for time.

Another way to create a nice learning environment would be to utilize quiet spaces around the room. So sometimes being given the opportunity to work independently isn't quite enough for those introverts out there, some might need to have to block out some noise. So having quiet spaces around the room, like in corners, away from desks, bookshelves are a great physical barrier that can absorb a lot of the noise, having little nooks to have kids curl up in. And just really having a safe haven is super helpful.

Going into the sixth way would be to work in the hallway. So even more for like high energy students or classrooms. Just somebody if somebody just needs extra space from all of that, working in the hallways can be a really great choice as well. And this can also work well for students who could use a little bit more room to stretch their legs out. Now, you might think I cannot let students work in the hallway, they're not responsible enough. But just remember, at this point in the year, or at least, you know, the first few weeks, you know your students best. So allow this when kids are able to use their time wisely. Check on them regularly to make sure they're on task. And you know, not only does that communicate the feeling of I got you but it also serves as a reminder that you're still around and taking, you know, keeping an eye on them.

The seventh way to create a learning environment is using quiet music to play in the background. This one is one of my favorites. Playing quiet music in the room makes that expectation that student volume should always be quieter than the music and I always tell my students that as well. Quiet music creates a soothing ambience pushes all the right productivity buttons for your learners. And it can also stimulate creativity in our brains so it can relax those anxious nerves that some students might have to enter this episode I wanted to share with you just a little bit of a way for you to dive even deeper to identifying student learning styles.

Having a cohesive learning environment is just one portion of how you can differentiate to all learners in your classroom. And I want to recap those seven ways again, because I did do a lot of explaining. The first one would be to utilize reading pairs or reading groups. Having students work by themselves having students work around the room, having students work under their desks, having quiet spaces around the room for them to work. work in working in the hallway, quiet music playing in the background. So those are the seven ways as far as your learning environments in the classroom and just outside in the hallway.

All right, well, that's it for today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And I hope you walk away with some tips on how you can utilize a learning environment that accommodates all of your students. Thanks for listening to the social studies teacher podcast. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, hit that subscribe button and leave a review. I would love to hear your thoughts. You can also find me on Instagram at the southern teach. I can't wait for you to join me in the next episode for more teacher tips and strategies.