Flexible Seating for flexible learning

Flexible seating is the new "thing". I hope that doesn't discourage you from trying it though! I'm hoping it isn't a passing phase and that it sticks around because we need it. Here's the thing, we talk about changing education, but we've had the same exact environment for 70+ years. Seriously? We learn so much about how environment affects students' learning. So much so that we have an entire portion of our teacher evaluation dedicated to how we handle environment.

Y'all! I didn't realize just how much of a difference it would make. It started how all good problem solving sessions start...with THAT kid. Oh, gracious he was driving me bonkers. Let's be honest: some students are more challenging than others. Those kids are the ones you really have to work at figuring out. They're the ones that need that extra love. This particular student looks at me in the middle of a lesson and says, "Mrs. Miller, can I sit in your chair?" At that point, I would have let him sit anywhere as long as he would work. That's the thing though. He did. He sat down and worked...every last minute of class. The next semester this scene played out again with another student, and I figured something out. Students work best when they're most comfortable. I would act like this is some amazing new discovery, but it's not. We already knew this based on how WE learn.

Ok, so after that longwinded spill, here's the stuff you wanted: ideas and pictures!

Here's a full-ish picture of the room, but it's hard to see everything.

Left side of the room.

Rest of the room....:)

I started out by getting rid of couple desks at a time. I brought in cheap, second-hand furniture, and my kids loved it. You don't have to get rid of all your desks at once, and you don't have to spend a ton.

The first piece of furniture in my room is a dining room table. It was used in my kitchen for about four years, and when my husband built me a new one, I brought this one to school. I painted and reupholstered the seats, and I'll be painting the actual table a charcoal grey this summer!

Seats: 4 (or six if I bring the other chairs to school)
Price: technically free (I inherited the table and used supplies I already had for the chairs)

This is actually a full size table. I just took the legs off to make a coffee table of sorts.

Seats: technically it can seat 3 or 4 if kids want to sit in the floor.
Cost: $20 at a thrift store.

Futon from walmart. I bought this during the college season, and it's an absolute favorite!

Seats: 2 (technically three, but I've learned that no more than two is best)
Cost: $100

This bar height table was one of the first flexible seating items that I added to my room. Bar height tables are sooooo expensive, and I definitely couldn't (and didn't want to) afford it. So, I had my husband build this table for me.

Seats: 4
Cost: approximately $100 in supplies
          stools $20 each
          total: $180

These trapezoid tables are one of my favorite seating options. Weird I know. It's just that they can be arranged in so many different ways. Although they look plain now, these bad boys are getting a makeover this summer. These two trapezoid tables are going to be painted with whiteboard paint :)

Seats: 4
Cost: Free (I dug these out of a storage building at school)

Here is the before picture....

Then, I painted them with whiteboard paint! I love it. Here are the updated pictures!

I heart these tiny side tables! They're from IKEA and make an awesome spot for couch sitters to put their supplies.

Cost: $7 each
Seats none, but it's worth the hassle of keeping my floors from being scattered with supplies.

Ahhh! This is one of my newest gems, and I AM IN LOVE! I wanted another taller-than-usual table. I am always thinking about storage as well, so I am thrilled with how this turned out. It's just made of two of the 9 cube storage organizers and a 3/4 inch sheet of plywood. My hubs just predrilled the screw holes into the top of the bookshelves. Then we just attached the plywood to the shelves using super long screws. Then we used wood plugs and painted them to match the table. Automatic storage and lots of room to spread out!

The best part? Due to human error or perhaps a glitch in the system, I got those bookshelves, which are normally $50 a piece, for $10 a piece! Score. The stools were given to me a couple of years ago when I started this journey!

Seats: 4 (or more maybe)
Cost: $10 for each bookshelf
         $30 for the plywood
         $15 for paint
         $65 total

The papasan chairs are always one of the first seats to be chosen. These were on sale on walmart.com for $30-$40 each. Pricey, but totally worth it. They're pretty sturdy!

Seats: 2 (1 each lol)
Cost: $70-80 total

More trapezoid tables! See! I told you that I love them for their versatility! These are in the process of a makeover, so I'll definitely update these pictures when that happens. I'm just repainting the surfaces with normal paint, nothing fancy! The aqua chairs are plain metal folding chairs and came from Sams Club.

Seats: 6 (if I need it to), but usually only 3 people (one at each table.
Cost: tables were free (from storage)
          chairs were $10 each
          Total: $40

Before pictures....

Then, I painted them with whiteboard paint. I'll try to get a better picture next time I'm at school.

Ohhhh!!!! I love me some IKEA! Yes, yes, I do! Ok, this one is kind of complicated. The table tops are linnmon table tops. The legs are adils. The cabinets at each end are actually bathroom vanity cabinets.

I attached the legs using the directions that came with them. Then, I attached the vanity cabinets (which don't have a top or back) using L brackets from walmart. The table in the middle has four legs while the two on the ends have two legs and a cabinet. Once all of the tables were assembled, I got them set the way that I wanted them and attached them with flat brackets.

Ugh that was complicated to even explain, but it's worth it! I love the layout! The chairs are also from IKEA. The cabinets were originally $49 each but were on clearance for $9.99 each (sensing a pattern here?)

Seats: 4 (or more)
Cost: Cabinets $20 total
          Tabletops $60 total
          Legs: $32 total
          Chairs: $20 each
Total cost: $132

Yes, there are knobs for these cabinets; I just haven't painted and installed them yet. :) I use the cabinets to store floor pillows...for now.

This isn't technically seating although I do sit on it a lot! This is my stage. Of course...the hubs built it for me. It didn't originally have a rug on it, but my rug was getting destroyed by the vacuum cleaner, so this became its new home! I like it there.

Ok, so there you have it. Flexible seating in high school. I love, love, love, can't get enough of, absolutely adore my seating choices. I love that I can move through the room easily and work with my students. I love that they're comfortable. I love that everyone gets what they need. I could seriously go on for hours. Let's just say that it's AH-mazing!

Have you tried flexible seating? What did you think? Have questions or suggestions? Let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you!

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