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Learning Reimagined in Flexible Seating

It's that time of year when teachers work tirelessly to create that perfect classroom environment for students. We've come a long way from singular rows of desks which face the teacher.  Learning in the 21st Century involves being creative and working collaboratively with peers. Thus, it's only natural that the design esthetic be considered in order to promote an atmosphere of collaborative learning.

Mrs. Bell, 4th Grade teacher at BCJ, has reimagined what a 21st Century class should look like. This year, she opted to go with a flexible seating environment. What is flexible seating? Flexible seating replaces traditional student desks and assigned seating. It encourages students to self govern themselves and decide what arrangement might work best for them on their day.The teacher introduces each seating option and teaches students how to successfully use the seat. Then she gives the class a chance to try out each option. Students quickly find out which option works best for them and is the most conducive for learning.

When asked why she chose to embark on this new trend in education, Mrs. Bell had this to say: “I really wanted my students to feel like they were at home. I wanted to create an environment were the students would enjoy learning. The flexible seating allows my students to have a choice and embrace creativity while learning. My students were able to decide what learning space worked best for them, what would help them work collaboratively, communicate more effectively, and engage in critical thinking.  My students love flexible seating. They are really excited about the futon. They enjoy sitting and participating from the couch. My students love the bouncy balls because it allows them to get their wiggles out while still learning."

Interested in converting your classroom into a flexible space? Use Mrs. Bell’s shopping guide to create a similar atmosphere of your own!

  • bouncy ball: five and below
  • hula hoops: family dollar
  • stools: Ikea (I spray painted)
  • funton: Aldi's
  • heightened table: table risers from Walmart
  • bench: crates (Walmart) fabric and foam: hobby lobby wood: home depot
  • saucer chairs: Walmart



Multiple seating options at one station Crate Bench in reading area Multiple Seating Areas Learning in action Standing Options