Every since she began teaching at Bernardo Yorba Middle School, Amy DeFriese and her students had challenges with mobility and collaboration no matter how many times they reconfigured their classroom. Once it was time to redesign her room, Ms. DeFriese researched possible solutions. Her objective was to create an environment for thriving student-centered learning.
During last school year, Ms. DeFriese brought in floor pillows and cushions from home, along with donated items from parents. During silent sustained reading, Ms. DeFriese’s students were then able move away from the traditional desks and create their own nook. During state testing, she tried this method again by place students in their most comfortable seating choice.
Over the summer, Ms. DeFriese sought out more flexible seating options. Some desks are still remain in her classroom, but there are now numerous locations for student learning. Her arrangement continues to evolve and currently builds from low to high as you would find in stadium seating. The classroom feels much larger.
Flexible seating is not without its challenges. Classroom management is a major consideration. Students have been involved in the process of creating guidelines to make our space safe, positive, and productive.
When asked about flexible seating in the classroom, Ms. DeFriese’s students had this to say:
I think flexible seating is a good idea for us to meet new people and to be more comfortable while we work. – Jaimie R.
I think flexible seating is a great way to make the class more fun and exciting. – Evan O.
I think that flexible seating is a good idea because the students can’t complain about sitting at a desk all day when you sit in fun seating. Additionally, it’s much more comfortable than a normal school seat. -Daniel L.
I like flexible seating because I like being able to work where I feel comfortable. – Mason L.