Those entering at least one fifth grade literacy classroom at Frank Mitchell Intermediate School may notice some differences when visiting. It has the standard table desks sitting in it but most are empty. Co-teaching there last week, Carol Edwards and Carol Soba said the option to sit on bean bag chairs, lay on the floor, prop up on pillows, sit on carpet squares, on a couch or futon is up to students in Edward's classroom. She said she is simply allowing students to pick and choose their comfort level. The only catch is—they must be learning.
“Get your body up and moving. It helps your brain,” she told students explaining the new look and official launching of the pilot "alternative seating" program. Edwards said she has been gradually adding alternative seating to her room all year in anticipation of the full-fledged launch.
Edwards and Soba are in agreement with an enthusiastic group of educators who believe that kids, especially the restless, high-energy kind, shouldn’t have to spend their school days sitting still with their knees tucked under desks. Instead, she believes students should be allowed, and even encouraged to stand, bounce, and shift, twist and wiggle—as long as they are learning.
Soba said the choice also allows students to self-manage their behavior and make choices—encouraging independent learning.