Junction City Middle School has two classrooms that have adapted to flexible seating, where traditional desks and chairs are replaced with a variety of seats which allow each student to learn in a more comfortable environment. Students enter the room each day and select a seat where they can best focus for the day. This may be a variety of seating from desks with bands, crates with cushions, stools, floor cushions, and lawn chairs. The flexible seating is called “Smart Seats” in Ms. Lenfestey’s class. On the first day of class the students brainstormed a social contract on how to best utilize the seating.
“The students created norms that I would’ve set myself, but as we’ve progressed through the first month of school I can see that the fact they created the expectations themselves carries a lot more weight than if I’d just given them a ton of rules.” – Ms. Lenfestey
Flexible seating offers the students a sense of ownership and enables them to become invested in their own education. The instructors have witnessed a change in the students’ commitment to learning and behavior. Being comfortable somehow allows the student to remain interested in the task, and willing to work with others, even sharing ideas as they move around the room. There are options for everyone, comfortable seats all around. Not everyone can learn comfortably by sitting in a chair attached to a desk.