After a lot of research (blog reading and Periscope watching, mostly) I've decided to make the change to flexible seating in my classroom! My classroom is already relatively flexible in that students can work around the room with clipboards on the carpet, in the bowl chair, with a cushion... They can also stand along the back counter during instructions if they prefer. As long as it is safe, I let them sit in their seat any way they choose. We've got wiggle cushions, foot fidgets and a wobble stool already. But, the desks are all essentially the same height and at the end of the day... they've all got their name on a desk and that's their spot which is chosen by me.
I recently attended a meeting, which was all about the plans for a new school in town. It is very "21st century" and the seating will be all flexible. I asked my kids about their thoughts on the topic.... do you need your own desk with a name on it? Is there comfort in that? Approx. 6 said yes... the rest were like "Get these things out of here!" They were so jazzed up about the possibility of adjusting the height, not sitting in those awful plastic chairs.... One student was willing to get to work with a screwdriver at that very moment. I can't stop thinking about the conversation. That was on the last day before Spring Break, so I'm going to have it all ready to go when we return. I have at least 3 kids who will have a spot with their name on it, and anyone else who requests can have that too.
I have decided to include some bath mats, exercise balls and crate seats in my flexible seating plan. A friend's husband scored me some milk crates from his work, and I've been hoarding them for a while. I'm happy to finally have the push to want to create the seats (and so is Ryan, so they can get out of his way in the shop!) I'm making 6 seats.
I've decided to go with outdoor fabric for the seats. I'm hoping it will be more durable and easier to keep clean. My fabric search happened in Fabricland. So many pretty choices!
I really liked this letter print, and the colours would be great for my room decor, but I was afraid of all the white. I ended up going with the bright yellow dots shown above. They are cheery - still light, but safer than white.
Ryan sprayed the crates with Krylon for Plastic in Navy Blue. All of the angles made them tricky to paint and they required A LOT of paint! Four and a bit cans to do the 6 crates.
The trouble with using milk crates, and not the file folders people are using from office supply stores, is that they don't have the ledge inside to prop the wood up on. I whined and batted my eyelashes and Ryan devised a way to make it work. He cut 3/8" plywood he had laying around to match the size of the crate and then made some pieces to go inside as a brace so that it wouldn't slide around.
I wanted to buy high density foam, but it was $28 a meter, and I needed 3 meters. Not going to happen! I ended up purchasing a queen size foam mattress pad at Walmart for $31. I cut two pieces per seat and stacked them. There's enough left over for 4 more seats and I'll be passing this on to a friend. I just used a highlighter and traced the wood and cut them out.
Stapling was a bit tricky because of the braces underneath. I folded the corners just like wrapping a present. They aren't perfect, but they are pretty good for never having upholstering anything before. There's no major wrinkles or anything. Here's 4 of them complete:
- 6 milk crates (free)
- Spray Paint - Krylon for Plastic in Navy Blue ($6 each x 5 cans)
- Outdoor fabric ($40)
- Foam ($31, but I used just over half of it)
- 3/8" Plywood and lumber (free as they were all leftover scraps)
- Scissors, ruler, marker, saw, nails, staples and staple gun (all free because they were around the house)
I ended up spending approx $15 per seat. It's a bit more than I would have liked to spend, but they are certainly more comfortable than the hard plastic seats in my room and will be well used, I'm sure!