Flexible Seating Storage and Organization

Flexible Seating Storage neon baskets , Flexible Seating Storage and organization
So you're trying flexible seating... or considering trying it out?! But you're thinking, "If the students don't have desks, where will they put their supplies?" There are plenty of options! 

Baskets for Flexible Seating Classrooms

Flexible Seating Storage neon baskets , Flexible Seating Storage and organization Flexible Seating Storage neon baskets with books
First of all, if you don't have many other options, think baskets, baskets, and more baskets. I got these baskets a few years ago from Oriental Trading Company and they were terrific.  They were mostly used as book bins, but they could hold just about anything, especially if you got smaller and larger sizes. 


Headphone Storage

Shoe hanger with student numbers for headphone storage - flexible seating
Before I got rid of most of the desks, students kept their headphones in their desks. I saw this idea online somewhere. It's just a shoe organizer hung over the door.  I got mine at WalMart but you can find them almost anywhere, even at CVS and of course Amazon. The reason some are on the side is because the students were not tall enough to reach the top row.

Supply Storage

Crayons sorted by color - flexible seating
We went with community supplies - this way kids didn't have to worry about pencil boxes. After a failed first idea (I will show you below), we kept crayons together (sorted by color), markers, scissors, and glue in small baskets (I told you baskets were important) on an old bookshelf.

Pencil Storage

close up of pencils in a cup - flexible seating
Pencils were kept in pencil cups on/in each table area. I also had a "broken pencils" bucket on top of the supply bookshelf.
Unsuccessful supply storage attempt for classroom from Reading and Writing Redheadmini crates for flexible seating classroom organization
This was my failed experiment at trying to keep some of each type of supply handy for students at their table. The baskets, though handy, weren't the right size, or it was just too confusing. Crayons would disappear and kids had trouble getting supplies out of it. Switching to just pencils at each table were a life saver. These purple baskets found a new life, however, as containers for STEM supplies!

Chair Pockets

A lot of teachers that don't use desks have these pockets for the backs of chairs. You can find them at Amazon (cheaper than the teacher store online) by clicking the image.

Mailboxes and Cubbies for Flexible Seating Storage

I didn't have a picture of it, but I did use this exact kind of  plastic Storex brand mailbox system for mail for students. Easy to keep organized! I did buy it myself, and saved the receipt for tax season! This is the third year it's been in use and it is in excellent condition.
So I also didn't have a picture of it in use, but my principal was able to get a wonderful Jonticraft cubby piece of furniture for my classroom. It actually came with plastic bins (not shown) and I think we found the best price at Schooloutfitters.com. If you can get one, through Donor's Choose, or any way, go for it!

Carts

                             Rainbow cart for flexible seating organization   
I also love these rainbow carts. They come in the tall skinny style (like this one seen at our HS library) and the 5x2 style, seen on the right.  They would be great for student cubbies (less than half the price, of the jonticraft cubby bookshelf but smaller) You can grab them at Amazon, and Michaels' etc.

I have one of these carts and keep it right next to my spot at the teacher table. It holds my small group Fundations supplies, guided reading books and more. I got mine at Michaels in mint green but Amazon Basics has this white one and a black.

Crates

Colorful crates for flexible seating storage
Crates, crates, crates! Almost as helpful as baskets! Because I didn't want to fill my students' cubbies totally up with books, we kept our hardcover, 300 page Journeys reading books in two of these, and stored them under the tall table. A third and fourth crate were also under the tall table and held our clipboards. 

Lap Desks

Purple lap desk provide pencil and supply storage in a flexible seating classroom

These are not exclusively for storage, but for flexible seating, lap desks are an inexpensive option AND they stack up for very easy, organized storage. I got these either at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but Michaels was cheaper.

Stools with build in storage for flexible seating classroom
You can also consider seating or tables with storage included. Genius! If you can't afford or get an Otto stool, try items like these (Hobby Lobby  I think) that serve multiple functions!

Paper Storage

Plastic storage with drawer for paper in flexible seating classroom

Where did we store paper in my room? We used that purple unit at the back right of the beach chair table! 6 drawers, so I stored three kind of paper (2 drawers for each). It was a hand me down from another teacher so it was free.

Task Card Storage

Iris photo storage cases help store materials in flexible seating classroom
These photo storage cases (Iris) are amazing. I store all our task cards like Toothy, Mystery Words, and the spelling and vocabulary cards from our Journeys units in these. They are compact and fit nicely on a bookshelf. Check them out on the bottom shelf of this bookshelf below. You can also see I am using one of those purple mini crates to hold our Everyday Math cards.

Iris photo storage cases on display in flexible seating classroom

Center Materials

We used these plastic trays from Oriental Trading for our Guided Math and reading center materials. Very convenient and they stack nicely for storage and help keep materials all in one area!
Center materials organized in purple flat tray helps in a flexible seating classroom
Did you get at least one or two new ideas for how to organize materials in a flexible seating classroom? I hope so! Let me know if you have a favorite organizational tool or strategy in the comments!

Flexible Seating Storage neon baskets , Flexible Seating Storage and organization



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    10 Ways to Help Kids be Kind

    As it comes close to the end of the year, I often set goals to work on with my class and recently, one of my goals for the next calendar year was to work on helping my students treat each other as well as other people with kindness. I gathered up lots of ideas! 

    One
    First of all, did you know that Random Act of Kindness Week is February 11-17? Terrific, but don't forget, kindness can and should be an all year focus. I do like kicking it up a notch during that week! There is actually a whole website of resources for this week (and to encourage it year round) here at the random acts of kindness website!

    Two
    You can kick it off with  using this freebie called 100 Random Acts of Kindness. It will help either your class (I did it as a whole class project with my second graders) or help individual students brainstorm and/or track all the random acts of kindness they do. I liked to introduce this around February 1st actually and aim for our class to get to 100 by the 100th day of school. Kids were very invested and usually we ended up with well over 100 random acts of kindness!
    Three
    Also, try using some of the great ideas for morning meeting through Responsive Classroom (disclaimer: I have not been officially trained). The responsive classroom website has ideas here and you can find more of them all over the internet. One I like that encourages kindness is doing a compliment circle. The leader starts by giving a genuine compliment to one other student, they do the same (no one can get a compliment twice) and continue on until everyone has been greeted with a compliment. Similarly, but with a part of speech twist, try the adjective greeting. Students get a greeting and a positive adjective in front of their name such as "Good morning, Awesome Archie"!

    Four
    Incorporating read alouds and accompanying discussions are always a great way to encourage kindness. My all time favorite book that supports a kindness curriculum is Wonder by RJ Palacio.

     Five
    Kindness Journals! I had my second graders write Kindness Journals after we read Wonder. Each week I gave them a quote from 365 Days of Wonder. They had to write the quote and reflect on what it meant to them. It was pretty powerful.

    Six
    Watch Kid President's Kindness videos on the Soul Pancake Youtube channel. There are more than 100 Kid President videos and many, I mean many, relate to kindness! (Fun Fact: Did you know Kid President Videos are on the Soul Pancake channel and Soul Pancake is the creation of The Office actor Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute) and some of his friends?)

    Seven
    Help Kids Learn how to apologize. Kids don't just show up to first or second grade and know how to do it in a meaningful, kind way. They often need explicit teaching on how to do it. Try having an anchor chart handy with sentence stems like this one!
     

    Eight
    Use a buddy bench at recess! Our school is lucky enough to have our own buddy bench dedicated to a retired teacher. Students often use it and it can be a great vehicle to make new friends! If you don't have a bench, try making a specific 'buddy spot' like an oak tree or other landmark for kids to go to if they need a friend or something fun to do at recess!

    Nine
    Decorate the walkway with kindness notes! This is an idea I saw on a PTA website, but I forgot exactly where! Great and inspiring idea!

    Ten
    Read alouds! These four are some of my favorite for teaching kids about kindesss!
                .               

    Bonus:
    Set up a kindness station at your school so students AND staff can write and post or write a give a kind note to anyone! All you need is a table, pens or pencils, some index cards or post it notes and maybe if you want them posted, push pins and a bulletin board!

    Do you have a tip? Comment and share it!

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      New Year's Ideas for the Classroom


      Believe it or not, it's time for thinking about how to incorporate New Year's activities in the classroom. I'm here with some trusty, fun ideas! Read through and let me know which one is your favorite!

      New Year's Rhyme Time!
      You know  I have something for you that I created!  My second graders always seem to need to practice rhyming so I combined that skill with some new year's themed words like "confetti" and "year". It's a cut and glue activity so they sneak in some fine motor practice with the scissors too! Grab it here!

      New Year's Eve Video
      Transparent English's video on Youtube is  called New Year's Eve Customs and Traditions. It might be intended for English language learners but check it out and see  if you could share it with your class. He does mention champagne toasts and midnight kisses (with  a cartoon picture though)!

      Do a Noon Year's Eve Party
      Some classroom and families do this - I guess you could do at noon on the first day back to school after January first! Teacher to the Core does a great job of explaining it at her blog post here.

      Try a Seesaw Activity
      Incorporate technology with your New Year's activities by using the Seesaw app! It's free to teachers by the way. Check out Teach Live Travel's freebie here!

      10 Bag New Year's Countdown
      Jess from Cooties and Cuties explains how to prepare 10 bags to countdown the first day back in the new year. She also has a freebie to help you get the kids out of the back to school, no more vacation doldrums!

      New Year's Mobile
      If your'e into crafts, try this New Year's themed mobile craft from Coffee Beans and Children's Dreams!

      Read Aloud or Featured Books
      These are so great for reading aloud just before Christmas vacation or when you return from break!

                              
                                                   




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