First Grade Classroom: Alicia Atkinson-McCombs
I'm grateful that we are being joined today by an incredible teacher, Alicia Atkinson-McCombs. She is amazingly flexible - looping with her kiddos from first to second and back again. She has a wealth of expertise and has been so enthusiastic about creating a flexible environment for her students to grow.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a first grade Texas teacher working at Katy ISD. You can find our class @msmccombsclass.
Tell us a little about your journey to flexible seating. What inspired you?
I was inspired to try flexible seating in my classroom as I have a passion for preparing these sweet little ones to be powerful decision makers and problem solvers. I feel that the self-awareness of what environment they learn best in and empowerment they feel from the opportunity to have choices will foster these skills in each one of my sweet firsties.
Any roadblocks or things you had to overcome?
With the time spent up front to design a plan for the transition to flexible seating, we have encountered relatively few road blocks. I have found that the time spent up front to teach them about responsible use of each of the seating choices has been an invaluable investment. In spite of all of the preparation, there was a bit of anxiety on Meet the Teacher night but I found that the parents were very open to the idea and excited that their child would have the opportunity to learn in this type of environment.
What are your students' favorite spots?
By far, my students favorite spots have been the wobble seats, scoop rockers, and yoga balls.
What are the benefits of flexible seating that you have seen so far?
With three weeks under my belt using flexible seating in our classroom, I have found that the students are more engaged and they have already exhibited growth in the area of choosing what seating choice will help them be their first grade best.
Where do your students keep their "stuff?"
Our campus is departmentalized in grades 1-5 which means that I get to work with 46 students each day. I had previously used the Trofast system from Ikea to organize my math enrichment stations and this has also worked beautifully for organizing all the materials that the students use throughout the day. We utilize community supplies which are readily available at each of the seating choices and there are also supply bags that the students can use if they choose to work at one of the seating choices on the floor.
Help us "trouble shoot." Any helpful tips or things you do to help get your students used to flexible seating?
As someone who is new to using flexible seating in the classroom, the most helpful tip I received and would want to pass on is to look at your classroom with a "first year teacher brain". Investing the time to develop a plan for using flexible seating will help make the transition relatively seamless.
Thanks, Alicia, for offering such valuable advice and taking the time to share your deskless classroom. Anyone else swooning over her colors and ability to organize?