Flexible Seating in 2nd

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by divey, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. divey

    divey Companion

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    Jul 17, 2014

    I have been pondering an idea this summer and am struggling with the logistics of implementing it, so thought I'd ask for your advice. In my graduate level class on differentiating instruction this summer my instructor often switched up where we were sitting to help us collaborate with different people. When learning which group we were in, we would gather all our belongings, and head to our new table. I would LOVE to have my 2nd graders move flexibly like this without having to rearrange their desks every time. My ultimate goal would be for their desks to remain in one spot, and students move their belongings to their different group, but knowing how chaotic it was when we, as adults, moved like this during my class, I can only imagine what it would be like with 2nd graders! My students do have a small cubby that they could keep some things, but I'm imaging more chaos every time I ask my students to get out their books/pencil boxes/journals/etc... As they all traipse to their cubbies. Additionally, I'm wondering if young students NEED a space to call their own (their own desk). Do any of you have suggestions as to how I could implement flexible grouping with minimal chaos?
     
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  3. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2014

    So do their desks not have storage space or are the at tables? If they are at desks with storage space just have them take what they need to the new seat. If you plan on them being with the same group for a while I would just move the desks. If it's tables you are talking about and they only have cubbies for storage, you could tell the kids to get their materials and get to the new spot while giving them a countdown so that they do it quickly.

    Most importantly, you better figure this out ASAP so that you can practice the procedure the first week of school.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2014

    Yes, 2nd graders really need to have a space to call their own. This can be a desk or a container at a table. Even then, they love having their name tag at that table and a place to be called their own.

    What you are proposing would probably work in grades 5 and up--maybe even 4th. I don't think many of your 2nd graders would like it at all.
     
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jul 17, 2014

    If they had limited supplies in their desks, they could keep everything in a pencil box or ziplock bag. To have names on desks, you could have movable name tags possibly, though you would want something durable and easily movable. Then, they could just pick up the two things and move. I wouldn't do it more than every couple weeks though. To move them, you could have everyone get their things in hand, line up, and then tell them where to sit. Just some ideas.
     
  6. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2014

    I disagree with this because from my experience teaching second grade last year they LOVED getting new seats. My college preparation program was similar in the fact that we did a lot of group switching so I do it quite often in my class. Of course they had all of their things in their desks. I would make my seating arrangement at home, and go in the next morning and quickly move the desks around.
     
  7. divey

    divey Companion

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    Jul 17, 2014

    My students are used to me moving them around quite a bit, but I just hate having to move desks every time I want a different grouping arrangement. I have thought about not having their textbooks be "theirs" but belonging to the class as a whole, so they could stay I the desks and students would only have to move their own personal stuff. I guess it would really not be any different than having students sit at tables like I did in kindergarten, and they handled it okay! Plus, with each child having a cubby, that could be their personal space too!
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2014

    My 2nd graders looked forward to switching desks/groups every month. Kept things interesting and they never got sick of their partner/group members.

    I also changed the arrangements pretty often. Sometimes, I had them sitting in groups of four. Other times, they sat in pairs. A few times, I did three rows of 8!
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2014

    Moving desks yes...they do enjoy this. I am referring about not having a desk or table to call your own. If that desk gets moved from group to group, that is something nearly any 2nd grader would enjoy.
     
  10. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2014

    For the second half of last school year, I attempted to use "alternative seating" with my 2nd graders. I did a blog post if you would like to check it out: http://settingupforsecond.blogspot.com/2013/12/mid-year-update-alternative-seating.html

    It did NOT work for me, and I had a really good class. I gave it a lot of time. I went over the expectations constantly, and I held students to them. If they weren't following the expectations, I chose their seat for the day. It became a huge headache. I found that my students were not responsible/mature enough to decide where they should sit. For example, they almost ALWAYS sat by their friends, even when they knew it wasn't a good choice. The kids that could focus better at a table always chose to sit on the floor. It was so frustrating that I moved everything back to the way it was in May. I gave it a try for 4 whole months, though!

    Here is what my classroom looked like before my alternative seating: http://settingupforsecond.blogspot.com/search/label/Classroom reveal 2013-2014.

    I love having the bookcases to hold supplies. They all have an assigned spot, but it's really easy for them to just grab their supplies and go. I've heard of teachers turning their desks backwards, too, and using them as tables. The desks stay empty, and students store supplies elsewhere.
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2014

    This is what i do, works great for me.
     
  12. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jul 17, 2014

    My students have tables, so flexible seating is pretty easy. They each have a chair with their name on it, but I can easily send them back to a certain table to work and they can sit in anyone's seat (we don't bother to move the chairs.) All of their materials, like notebooks and folders are stored in different centers around the room so I can pass things out after they're in their seat for the period or as I send them back.

    Do you move to a rug or a meeting area during lessons? You could have them come to the rug with whatever they'll need for independent practice (say a pencil and a notebook) so they can move wherever for the group work and stuff and already have the materials. Does that make sense?
     
  13. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jul 18, 2014

    I use tables, but before I acquired enough for my whole class I treated my desks as if they were tables. The only thing my students travel with are their pencils.
     
  14. divey

    divey Companion

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    Jul 19, 2014

     
  15. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Jul 22, 2014

    I do alternate seating with my kids. I've tried several things over the last 5 years. I also use stability seating in my class.

    I have tables (this year I'm trying 1/2 and 1/2 with another teacher), and have found it pretty easy to handle. With desks you can try several things. Some desks you can easily take off the trays. You can also turn the desks around so students can't use them (someone suggested this above). I've done both! You could also save up computer paper box lids to slide in the desk trays. These fit in our desks and easily slide out and allow the kids to take their belongings to wherever they're moving.

    I've used the bookcases at the end of each table too. Some groups do really good with these and some don't. My kids use their cubbies to keep most of their items throughout the day. I also have an organization pocket chart that my kids put their papers in. There are 28 slots, and construction paper can even fit inside.

    Nametags are a different story. If your desks/tables are smooth, you may be able to use an Expo marker to write names on them daily. It easily wipes off of our desks. I've also put velcro dots on the nametags. I put the soft velcro dot on the nametag and the hard one on the desk. My students choose their seat every day, and they put their nametags in their pocket chart at the end of the day. There are also clear nametag protectors that you can purchase. These are sticky on one side and you can easily slide the nametags in and out of them.
     

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