Published On: Thu, Sep 14th, 2017

Sitting on top of the world

LAUREL —Fourth graders at LCC might have noticed something missing from their classrooms. The traditional desk and chairs had been replaced.
Melissa Haisch and Laura Nordby, LCC fourth grade teachers, replaced the chairs with exercise balls, balancing stools, kneeling and standing desks, a video chair, and, in Haisch’s room, a couch. This concept is called “flexible seating.”
Haisch said this is a concept that she had been thinking about for some time now. In conversation with Nordby, they decided this was the year they should put the theory into practice.
After much research, presentation to the principals and boards, the two fourth grade teachers were given the go ahead to put their plan for “flexible seating” into practice.
Haisch relayed how the teachers put the concept into practice. The first day was explanation of the new classroom arrangement. The students helped the teacher come up with expectations, guidelines, and rules. This helped ensure the students took ownership into the new classroom concept.
The next couple days the students tried out the new seating to see what would work best for their learning style. Once the students had tried out the various seating options, each student filled out an evaluation. The evaluation was to help the students figure out what seating option would work best for each individual child; putting much consideration each student’s learning style.
If a student chooses, there are traditional chairs available in the classroom as well. Many of the traditional chairs have “bouncy bands” attached to the legs. Bands that allow for the kids to help get their wiggles out. Haisch says “the noise in the room has gone down, the new seating allows students to use their core and leg movements to get those wiggles out.”
The teacher explained since the seating has changed, so has how the students store their work material. The material is stored on shelves as opposed to the traditional desk storage.
The teachers sent home a letter explaining to parents “the goal is to empower our kids, increase student engagement, and to help prepare students.” Haisch stated many large businesses have implemented this concept into their corporate world, why not bring this concept to our students to help them learn.
Haisch said students have been very receptive of the “flexible seating.”
The seating arrangement allows the students to move just a little but helps the students maintain their focus on the lesson. In discussion, Haisch stated, “How do you like to sit when you are working? Most likely you choose to have a level of comfort. Why not allow the students this as well.”