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My students are part of a "Leader in Me" school culture which provides many opportunities to be empowered with choices. What better way to bring this even further than flexible seating! My students are first graders who are involved in a fast-paced global world where they are required to collaborate with each other through multiple venues personally and through technology. Being a "Leader in Me" school requires students to make choices. Having a flexible seat environment allows them to make choices about their classroom physical environment. My students are first grade students who I would love to help teach early problem-solving skills by making choices where they sit and what works best for them. Often my students are very high energy, wiggly, or have ADHD, ADD, or behavioral issues stemming from various home environments, and I have a very culturally group from various nations. Empowered students are our leaders of tomorrow; we can't solve their problems, and choices start with our youngest students.
Health, commitment to learning, collaboration, community, communication, choice, and of course fun are all great reasons to have flexible seating for my students! Students need to be able to move throughout the day. Studies have shown that when students are moving, wiggling, rocking, or standing this allows students increased blood flow and oxygen helping students to be more alert and focused. With movement, this ultimately increases student achievement in the classroom and decreases student behavioral problems. Ultimately, having a choice on where to sit in one's physical environment also allows students to build community, collaborate more, and thus have a higher commitment to their own individual learning and academic goals. Flexible seating allows students to choose where they work and with whom. It also allows them to change their location and positions as needed. Traditional seating can often lead students to become territorial and possessive. In our world now, we want our students in an environment that mocks the requirements of the "real world" globalization we live in today. Classrooms should be open to collaboration, critical thinking, and a safe community. Building a classroom community which is more student-led than teacher-led is truly what I strive for as an educator. Finally, having the ability to choose a spot to tune into learning is fun. When students have fun they are more engaged. When they are more engaged, their achievement is increased. A classroom that is more engaged, relaxed, enthusiastic, and has a sense of community is truly worth it.