I'm so glad that we have the chance to chat with one of my friends and education heroes, Jeannette! She is an INCREDIBLE instructional coach! She is visible and constantly out in classrooms, supporting her teachers fervently, and always looking for new opportunities for her teachers and our students.
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your experience?
Hi, my name is Jeannette Rodricks and I’m a Math/Science Instructional Coach in Katy ISD. You can connect with me on Twitter here. This fall I will be opening a new campus in Katy ISD and am super excited to get my teachers on the path of flexible seating.
What are your first thoughts upon entering a classroom with flexible seating?
I have many thoughts upon entering a classroom with flexible seating, to include “Wow, the creativity that will allows kids to have!” “It’s so organized in here!” “Routines and procedures have been explicitly taught” “How exciting that students get to make decisions around here!”
… and once inside and working with kids, I just get even more excited!
Do you handle a flexible classroom any differently from a classroom with traditional seating? If so, how?
No, not really. In a traditional classroom I tend to pull up a chair to work next to or with kids; but in a flexible classroom I am up and down and all around. My goal is the same, get down and work with kids.
What are the benefits that you can see from the outside?
Kids have a choice in where they sit and work. I also notice that many times kids are more focused in what they are doing because they don’t have others around them to distract them. I also see that flexible seating allows our kids to get their wiggles out in a quiet way, bouncing on a yoga ball does it for many kids.
Math and science are so hands-on and inquiry-based, This deskless movement lends itself beautifully to learning in these current times. Students can freely move around to collaborate and work.
What do you think some of the struggles of having a flexible classroom could be? Anything a teacher needs to be extra mindful about when planning a flexible classroom?
For teachers wanting to explore this path, I know they’ll have many questions like: Where do I start? Where do I get the materials? Chairs? Table alternatives? I think teachers also need to know that setting up clear routines and procedures for kids is key. Lots of practicing, modeling, anchor charts with visuals will only make this easier for all.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Congrats for wanting to start on this path, visit classrooms that have experience with this set up and ask questions!! We’re all here to help and to see you succeed.