Flexible seating week one!

The first week-ish

So, this has been a BIG learning experience for my kiddos, and me. I really think the first week was more about getting settled and familiar with the expectations of our new room. This did add a little challenge for me because we start our year with new expectations and now I had to add more and be a bit lot more flexible.

Routines and week one
First off, there was no schedule the first day and things were hectic. Yes, I admit that. I will hold nothing back while I share this journey. I did notice the calmness when they were actually working in a spot they chose to sit in. But when I had them on the big carpet for whole group chat/lesson, it was interesting.  As with any class, sitting too long is not good for 8 and 9 year olds.
So day two, I started that schedule!!! Best thing I could have done. NOTED!! Now, my schedule was by no means set. It was just a start. Things went much smoother though. We started a reading/writing assignment, they found their best spot to sit and work, and we had a much better day.

Day three, hmm.. my morning routine was not in place yet, so that was next on my list. We have so much to do before switching classes and I had to figure out how to work it all in. In third grade my school gives each of the kiddos an agenda and we must teach them how to use it. So there goes my morning routine on day 3. After about 25 minutes, we kind of got the gist of how to find the right day to write our homework down. Kind of!! They’ll get there.
On day four, I came in strong and ready. It worked too. I explained the expectations, had some morning work in place, and reminded them where to put their items once they unpacked. It seems as though most of my issues were based on my morning routine. I already knew for week two that I planned to start an ELA morning worksheet I created this summer. This would keep them busy once announcements were over and it will be part of their morning routine all year. Fingers crossed for week two mornings.
Day five, oh what a beautiful morning! They unpacked, got the morning work I set out, and got started on it instead of playing, asking questions, or just standing there.  For their fifth day, I was happy and proud of them. I knew our second week would only get better. 
They love the Cafe!!

That explained my craziness for routines in the morning, but my biggest issue on day one was organization. I had boxes and bags of school supplies and wasn’t sure where they would go and how I was going to store the items the kids needed to have with them. They all have a pencil pouch and even though they brought in all of their own school supplies, I collect them and explain to the class they become community property and we share. This is because I use a classroom economy system with my kids for behavior and rewards. They learn to be more responsible with their items if they have to purchase them. My parents love this too.  So we have class cash and they learn how to earn and spend money from the start.

Anyway, as I look at this huge mess in my room, I knew I had to figure it out before they came back in the morning. I planned on staying as late as I needed to just to get this job done. Funny thing, I had it cleaned and put in a perfect place all within an hour. I’m really thinking 30 minutes, if I have to be honest. When the kiddos unpacked their items we placed them in containers, that made it easier. Well, I cleaned all of my cabinets out this summer and had more storage then I thought. So it worked beautifully. Every day for the first week I found places to put things while making it easy for the kids and myself to get to. The best part, it was tidy and organized. Woohoo!!! So happy!! Organization…check!!
I'll show more of my organization next time.

Ai yi yi!! Truth? I heard flexible seating works on behavior. There were a couple of times I thought, “Am I doing the right thing?” Then I realized, we are still learning. I had to do a reality check. Out of my two groups, I have a tiny-ish issue with four munchkins in one group and this is not from the set up, it’s well you know, eight-year-old kiddos who have a hard time sitting still and staying focused. They are really sweet but we have some work to do to get them on track. They have to be reminded to find a place they can do THEIR best at. Sometimes that means NOT sitting by your friend who will distract you. So during week one I gave several reminders, just to be fair. Week two, I made some changes. Let’s just say, it’s a work in progress and the year is still new. I know we will get on track and they will all figure it out.

We have a longer family chat (meeting) on Fridays and I ask the kiddos for some input on the room and how our seating is working. I tell them to give me their likes and dislikes. Overall, they love the room and have no real complaints. Ok, the only complaint is about the areas they have named the white areas, meaning where the two white carpets are. I looked at the little boy who was about to discuss his dislike about the white carpet area, (wondering what it could really be) and he said, “I don’t like that I have not had a chance to sit in that area yet!”  I had to chuckle inside. He was very irritated about this and felt the need to get it out. Meanwhile, about three others chimed in with the same response. I still laugh about it because it’s so darn cute they love those areas. I thought those would be the least liked spots in the room. It’s the boys too that love those spots. I don’t get it, but if they're happy there we’ll get it figured out.

Ok, I have lots to do before school in the morning so I’ll be back soon with another update on my new classroom and our flexible seating arrangements.

As always, thank you so much for taking this journey with me!!!