Saturday, May 28, 2016

Reflections on Flexible Seating and Summer Reading

First Day of Summer
Reflections on Flexible Seating
I've done a "modified versions" of flexible seating for several years by allowing students to work around the room and for some to have the ability to sit on ball chairs.
But I really jumped into the whole class flexible seating during the second semester of this year after reading more fabulous articles and blog posts about how successful teachers were 
finding it in their rooms. 
I can honestly say... I AGREE!

I've been thinking about ways to "gather" more options for flexible seating to use next year...this summer, so I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts for possible improvements for next year...

Since I do have whole group lessons, I kept the desks in an arrangement that allowed everyone to be able to see the projected screen or whiteboard.

Desk legs were taken off two desks so that crates could be used to sit on comfortably. 
Tennis balls were added to the table legs so that they wouldn’t scratch the floor. 
Shorter desks were kept in the front of the room to allow for ability to see projections.
This was a favorite option for many...need to find more ways to create/use crates in the room

Carpet was available to sit on with laptop desks to work. Need somewhere for students sitting on floor to store their binders and art supplies. Popularity of this option varied from week to week. May just add carpet and some scoop seats to library area for working on independent work.

Standing desks were in back row. Just desks heightened to the tallest setting. 
(Tried adding bed risers to table, but was not in my comfort zone this year)
Students could have chair at desk and put one knee on chair while working if liked...
could also sit in chair or push chair in and stand behind it to work.

Middle area of room had desks at 4/5 hole settings to allow for chairs or ball chairs.

Name tags were laminated and NOT taped to a desk. 
Students could put on top of their new desk or inside the desk so 
that when they were out of the room, I could find desks.

Books were stored on a shelf where kids could get to them if we needed them 
or in  individual cubbies at the front of the room 

2 Binders and a supply box were kept inside the desks.

At first, students switched areas twice a day. 
Once after reading and again after math. 
However, as the months progressed, they preferred to switch just once a day. 
So we we would choose a new seat after reading. 

There was a request to have the ability for some to not switch if they felt more comfortable 
sitting in the same spot.
However, in order to keep desks organized and free from papers and pencils all over, 
I still had those children get out their supplies to “move to another seat”.
The movement helped them take a brain break, keep their supplies organized 
and helped me to see who needed the same seats.

I kept ultimate control...
if I perceived that a child was not doing well in a certain spot, 
I asked them to move…”It’s my perception...however, you can change it with your actions”.
Also had certain students that were asked NOT to sit by others as the days went on as it was my perception that they were not working to the best of their ability in that situation. 

I kept the “last say” as I am the queen of the classroom...
I wear my crown from time to time just to remind them 
(and when we’re playing beat the queen) :) 

I'd love to hear any suggestions for what works for you
where you've found items to use
or how your experience with flexible seating has gone!

Comment below...
Share a tweet and tag me...

I'll choose a connection or two for some free items from my TpT store.
(I'm working on some fluency packs for next year with 
multiplication & division like the ones I created for addition & subtraction)

Also planning to share more posts about this book for my
summer reading nugget!
If you're interested in joining in...let me know
I'd love to share some ideas and activities 
to use with NonFiction Reading
with you! 

If your new to flexible seating
Just checking out the possiblities...
Here's some research that helped me as I developed my classroom plan..

Flexible Seating ....
‘Classroom design influences levels of interaction and engagement. Engagement and active learning improve retention.’

‘Comfortable classrooms—physically and psychologically— promote a sense of well-being, keep minds focused, and limit distractions.’

‘We need to serve as advocates for teaching and learning so that our facilities truly become learning spaces.’

Resource Articles:
*Article with video from Edutopia to talk about the research behind flexible seating and some ideas of what it might look like...

*Article by Kayla Delzer (Fantastic 2nd grade teacher in Minnesota) provides examples and research for flexible seating….
* another article by Kayla…

*  “Leading the Transition from Classrooms to Learning Spaces” by Diana Oblinger

* Fabulous Blog Post by Angie Olson (another stupendous 2nd grade teacher) on
Flexible Seating FAQs This post is jam packed of most of the questions and answers I had when I first started out...
You can find her blogging about her teaching experience on “Lucky Little Learners”.

* Article on one teacher’s journey into flexible seating and how it went…ideas on types of seating choices

Enjoy your Summer!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Green Screen for Reporting

Presidential Reports were due on 
Friday the 13th!

So to make it more interesting and add a bit of tech...
We incorporated DoInks Green Screen App
into our reports....
It was scary to get in front of your peers to talk 
so we pinned up the green screen I ordered from Amazon...
totally worth having the extra material to cover a LOT of area...
to hold our iPad with a microphone attachment to help pick up our voices.
We used the DoInk Green Screen app
It's sooo easy and totally worth the cup of coffee to have on one of our iPads!
Students were able to import the background of their choice and SEE what their video would look like...make was a ONE TAKE event...if I would have let them redo...
we'd still be filming the reports right now :)
To keep the audience engaged...they were tasked with coming up with a 2-3 sentence comment to write in their Seesaw journal about the presenter's speech...
We made a "quick" suggested comment list and chose some of the comments we thought might work for the presidential report...always being mindful to 
THINK before posting! 
It went off well! 
The audience was engaged, the presenter was a LITTLE less intimidated and the end product was awesome! I'll be adding their speeches into the Seesaw journals so they can share with their family and friends this weekend!

If you're not using Seesaw with your students, I ENCOURAGE you to try it out at the end of the year so you can see how it works. I have LOVED the engagement and ability to connect with families through this awesome FREE tool!
Here's a peek into the recording...

I hope the end of your school year is going fabulously well!
and that you'll consider trying something new
to see how you might be able to use it with your 
students next year!