Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Flexible Seating - Managing Student "Stuff"!

Before I started flexible seating, all of my students had chair pockets that they kept their COLLEGE notebook, binders, bags of books, etc in.  So when I went to flexible seating and went to only having 4 normal chairs in my room - I had to rack my brain as to where I was going to keep all their stuff!

I know many other teachers have expressed the same concerns, so I hope this will provide you some ideas as to how you could streamline and utilize some shelves and things you may already have (or could purchase somewhat cheaply) to help your students.


Now, I am a VERY organizer person and I believe in teaching my students to be organized as well.  This is a life skill that isn't in Common Core, but I know that if they are going to be successful after they leave my classroom, they need to be able to keep track of their belongings in a somewhat neat fashion.

I do have a large cubby unit, 

that my students keep their bookbags, jackets, and lunch boxes in.  Each of the sections is shared between 2 students.  It isn't always the neatest looking thing during the day - but it fits their stuff!


In our classroom, we do community supplies.  Each table has a spinner caddy that holds pencils, scissors, crayons, and markers.  The cups are on the caddy with magnets so they can easily be taken off and moved around the table if needed (or cleaned!).  This is so much easier than each student having their own box of supplies - especially since I don't have individual student desks. 


Most recently we added this clear file boxes from The Container Store to each table.  When the students come in in the morning, part of their morning routine is to get their green & purple work folder and put in this box.  These folders are awesome because I took 2 folders and made it so they now have 4 pockets instead of just two!  They told me a few weeks ago they would like to have their folders at the table with them each day, so I happily obliged!


Since my students choose a new "home base" table each day, their folders couldn't stay only at their tables day after day.  So they are kept in these Ikea Trofast frame & buckets at the end of the day.  

The groups are organized by their classroom number, which is in alphabetical order.  Each green drawer is for 5-6 students to store their folders.

Also in these frames are bigger buckets for their bags of books.  Each students has 1 gallon sized bag to store their books they are reading in.  The frame/bucket on the left are for my students numbers 1-11 and the one on the right is for students numbers 12-22 - folders and books. 

I love how these drawers can easily slide off the tracks and back on - making it easy for them to pull out those heavy book drawers, dig around to find theirs and then put it back.


These frames are not super cheap, but it's Ikea so they are not overly expensive either.  When I first started planning my Ikea trip (since currently our closest one is 3 hours away), I wanted each student to have their own drawer (like the green ones) above, but I just didn't have the room in my classroom to make that happen.

Our students have home-school binders that we call COLLEGE binders.  Children Organizing, Learning, and Leading Everyday for a Great Education.  When my students had chair pockets, they kept them at their seats, but with flexible seating - that went away.  I cleared off a shelf on this black bookshelf and all the binders fit there.  

Each morning when my kiddos unpack they put their binder on the shelf.  If I need to put something in it - I can easily do that with them all in one place.  At the end of the day when we clean up to pack up, they all grab their binders and go to their seat.
Our Ready Common Core books are also store on the shelf below.



The last area of "student stuff" that I have is another Ikea Trofast frame for our different journals we use.  Each morning the Morning Work Journals bucket goes on the counter for students to grab their journal.  Then we have our Rooted in Reading Journals and Spelling Notebooks (for homework).


From time to time I do miss my chair pockets, as with those, my students had pretty much everything they needed right where they were.  However, I'm loving not having to wash those things every track-out and not having to get my mom to mend the holes!  It doesn't take me long to pass out notebooks when needed, and sometimes I have students pass them out which they LOVE to do!


If you have already implemented flexible seating in your room, I hope this might have helped you come up with an idea for how to store all your student's things.  If you have not, but have been wanting to - I hope I've inspired you that it can be done, you just have to get a little creative!


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