I want my students to walk into my room and instantly feel at home and ready to learn. Research shows that mood lighting and a range of comfortable seating choices will calm even the most escalated students, increasing student learning and engagement, and decreasing behavioral issues. I fundraised for flexible seating options on Donors Choose to put students in charge of their learning and work in a way that is best for them.
My students were so excited to see the boxes of flexible seating options that they immediately got to work unpacking, inflating, and assembling. The whole classroom was set up within 30 minutes! The variety of seating options definitely helps students focus better, which I expected, but they've had some other surprising benefits as well. For example, students have taken responsibility for maintaining the seating, so they will periodically inflate the yoga balls and wobble cushions, and fluff and rotate the beanbags. They also keep each other in check to make sure everyone respects and uses the seating properly, and make sure to rotate through the choices so that everyone gets a chance to experience different seating options. At several points this semester, the flexible seating has helped agitated students calm themselves down, whether they throw themselves onto a bean bag, bounce on a yoga ball, or fluff the bean bag to de-stress. I've noticed an increase with students arriving to class early so they can get a flexible seating choice, and ever since I stationed the bean bags by the SmartBoard, kids run over to watch my demos. (Maybe my demos have gotten that much more exciting, but I'm pretty sure it's the beanbags!) Countless students have mentioned how homey my room feels and the calming effect it has, to the point that they frequently spend their lunches and free periods in here.