Beyond the Basic Desk: Flexible Seating Options for Your Classroom
Compare your classroom to others in your school, and you’re likely to see a variety of desk options. Not every classroom is filled with row after row of desks and chairs. Instead, teachers are embracing the benefits of moving beyond traditional student desks and offering flexible seating options that not only bring variety to the classroom but may also help students stay focused in class. At the very least, flexible seating arrangements will spruce up the look and atmosphere of your classroom.
Research has long supported the correlation between physical activity and higher academic performance, better health, and improved behavior. Changing positions often and allowing opportunities for movement throughout the day can provide short bursts of activity that contribute to better classroom behavior.
So, if you’re looking for ideas that go beyond the basic desk, check out these options:
You’ll see this trend in offices across the country, and it’s trickling down to classrooms, too. Standing desks not only offer the health benefit of taking a break from sitting but may also improve collaboration in your classroom, as clusters of standing desks provide opportunities for conversation and discussion. Students love having options and giving your class the choice of standing or sitting can help your students feel like they have ownership in their learning space.
Wobble Chairs and Stools
Part chair, part core muscle workout, these alternatives to a traditional desk chair bring a bit of wiggle to your room. Studies have shown they can help fidgety students stay focused.
For a quick and relatively inexpensive option, consider seat cushions in your classroom. Some come with a textured surface on one side and a smooth surface on the other. Cushions are inflated with air and let students wiggle or rock slightly in their regular school chair. They’re a good choice for students who need something more than a traditional chair for staying focused, but who don’t want to stand out in the classroom.
This under-desk accessory lets children stretch their legs and add some movement to their day, all from a seated position. And, a research study from Clemson University shows the bands have a positive effect on students who are typically less engaged in classroom activities.
An inexpensive option for adding creative seating to your classroom, these rockers can be used in a reading nook, around a table of iPads, or any way you can dream up. The best part? They’re easy to store if you have a cramped classroom.
Also called exercise balls or stability balls, these round alternatives to a chair allow kids to roll, wiggle, and bounce while completing work at their desk. You can incorporate physical activity into your classroom without having to alter your lesson plans.
Need some more inspiration? Check out what this teacher did to transform her classroom on a limited budget.