Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher

Dealing With Poor Student Behavior

Do you have a student who just doesn't seem to care about your behavior management system and rewards? Do you know what motivates them?

We have all been there. We have all had that one student who constantly pushes our buttons and doesn't seem to follow any of the class rules. We have all had a challenging kiddo with behavior that has made us cry.

So how do we deal with a student who has challenging behavior?

I think that lots of teachers would say that you need a good behavior management program. 

I agree. Good classroom management is key!

But I also think that you can have an amazing program and still struggle with a kid or two that just don't seem to care.

I am about to share my honest opinions about challenging student behavior. Please know that I am not a psychologist. I am not a child behavior expert. I am just a mom and a teacher who has been insanely stressed by student behavior. I am just like you.

So if you don't agree with what I am about to say, no worries. I hope we can still be friends. 

So here goes...

There is NO classroom discipline program that is perfect. Sorry. 

The reality is that there is no class that is filled with students who are exactly the same. All students are not motivated by the same things. The key to dealing with a student who has poor behavior is to figure out why they are behaving that way and what motivated them.

Do you have a student who just doesn't seem to care about your behavior management system and rewards? Do you know what motivates them?

And that is NOT easy.

I am going to share some of the most common reasons for poor behavior that I observed in my third grade classroom. There may be lots of other reasons, but I hope that they help you to learn more about your challenging kiddo. I know you want to help them!

Student Misbehaves to get Attention

I found that this type of misbehavior is common with students who have lots of siblings and/or students who have parents who work extra long hours. This is not the only student who might have this problem, so don't rule it out just because you think they have the "perfect family."

This student is not phased by clipping down or losing Dojo points. They are motivated by attention. This student is used to getting attention because of their misbehavior and will have to learn to want positive attention rather than negative attention. 

How to reach this student:
  • invite this student to have lunch with you 
  • pair them up with a buddy from an older classroom 
  • if they play on a sports team or take dance classes, it would mean everything to them if you came to watch a game or recital
  • figure out what their hobbies are and learn about them. Ask the student about their interests on a regular basis
  • give them positive praise for any small acomplishment
  • ask them to help you with a project
 Any time this student is NOT misbehaving, give them attention! (Even if that is just one minutes out of the day. 🙃)

Student Misbehaves because they Don't Know how to Behave Properly

This is most common with a student who does not have a good role model at home. This is the student who is allowed to do almost anything that they want at home. 

Your consequences probably don't work with this student because no one at home will care. Mom doesn't care about the clip down or principal visit.

This student is motivated by having someone who cares about them. Their home life might be lacking this feeling. Sometimes this student can get very angry and struggle with emotions.

How to reach this student:
  • choose a small daily goal to focus on rather than all of their behavior problems
  • reward them every time they meet the goal (Example: a sticker for every time they raise their hand before speaking)
  • work towards weekly goals when the student starts to show improvement
  • when the student has setbacks (which they will!), remind them that you love them still
  • find something to compliment them for daily (even if it is just a compliment about their shoes)
Remember that this is going to take time! No kid learned how to behave in a week when they were three. And they still won't learn in a week when they are eight. 

Student Misbehaves because they Need to Move

Do you have a kiddo that is always talking to his neighbors, getting in other people's personal space and out of his seat constantly?

This is common with a student who needs constant physical activity. This is the child that needs to talk and move and is unable to sit still for long periods of time. When they are asked to sit for long stretches they start fidgeting and talking. They might be ADHD, but that is not always the case.

You need to remember that their need to move is beyond their control. They aren't doing it to bug you.

How to reach this student:
  • increase hands-on activities such as STEM, art, games, centers, etc.
  • give this student time to talk (pair shares, group work, etc.)
  • try flexible seating 
  • set small goals rather than expecting perfect behavior for the entire day 
  • do not take away recess as a punishment

Student Misbehaves because they are Bored

We have all had a parent that claimed their kid's behavior problem was caused by boredom. It's annoying because it feels like they are passing the blame. But, I think this is a true problem. 

If a student is not reasonably challenged, they are likely to find trouble. They have too much time on their hands!

How to reach this student:
  • have engaging fast finisher activities that students can access
  • use differentiated math and reading groups so that students are being properly supported and challenged
  • don't give MORE work
  • incorporate STEM, project-based learning or Genius Hour
Do you have a student who just doesn't seem to care about your behavior management system and rewards? Do you know what motivates them?

I am sure there are many more reasons that a child does not behave. I just noticed that these reasons were the most common in my classroom.

It is important to remember that student behavior is not going to change in a day or even a week. It will require patience. A child is not born with bad behavior. This was learned over time and it is going to take at least as much time to help the child to learn new positive behaviors. 

Always remember that it's not just about this year or about your classroom. You are helping to raise these children and it's about their future.

Don't give up on them! If one strategy or reward doesn't work, try something else. They are worth it!

Have a Not So Wimpy day!

Math Centers: What to do When Students are Struggling

Tips for helping students who are not behaving or getting their math centers completed

If you have been following my blog for long you probably know that I totally geek out over math centers in the classroom. I think math centers are THE BEST way to differentiate and meet all of your students' needs.

Math Centers are my Jam!

I wrote an entire blog post series about how I run math centers. It is a must read!

Here is the thing: Even if you have the best math center routine and activities, you are still going to have some students who struggle during math center time. Sometimes you have students who don't behave during center time. Other students may not get their work completed or find the work to be too hard. This is normal!

They are kids! They won't be perfect. But with a little help...they can be NEAR perfect! 😜

I typed up some of the most common math center challenges and provided several suggestions.

What should I do if students are not behaving during center time?

Do you need to practice procedures and expectations?
The number one way that I have found to improve behavior during center time is by spending TONS of time teaching and modeling the expectations. You can make anchor charts about what center time should look and sound like. You should have students modeling the each procedure (taking out materials, working, transitions, putting materials away, etc.). You can read exactly how I teach the procedures by clicking HERE.

Even if you have already taught the procedures, you might need to go back and review if lots of your kiddos are struggling with behavior during center time. I like to do a quick review after long breaks!

Do you need to use rewards?
Some students are highly motivated by compliments. Make it a point to compliment students who are on task. I also like to make a big stink about choosing the "math group of the day." I don't even give them anything. They just get excited because kids are naturally a bit competitive. 

You could also offer small rewards for students who meet their math center goals. My favorite reward is a brag tag. Other options are Dojo points, class money, positive notes home or the use of special school supplies for a day.

Do you need to use your classroom behavior system?
If you have reviewed the procedures and given rewards- don't be scared to use your behavior management system. It is there for a reason. Hopefully if a student has appropriate consequences once or twice, they will improve their behavior.

What should I do if the math centers are too challenging for some students?

There are several ways that you can ensure your students are successful with their center work. After all, we don't want them to just be time fillers!

Are you using centers as a spiral review?
Students will do best working independletly when they have had instruction and practice with the skills from the centers. For this reason, I use my centers as a review. In class we may be working on our division. unit, but during independent centers students are working on multiplication. This gives us time to practice division as a whole group and during small group before they are doing independent division centers. 

The review is so good for them anyway. We don't want them to forget everything after we finish a unit!

Are you taking advantage of math small group time?
If you notice a group of kiddos who are struggling with a particular skill or center, small group is a fantastic time to give them a little assistance. You can model a problem and then have them work together on the others with the group. Hopefully the extra help will be just what they need to understand and remember the skill in the future! Sometimes they just need you to help them to get started.

Are you differentiating?
Some of the center activities are going to be more challenging than others. They are all on grade level, but not all of your students are on grade level. You may need some modifications.

The easiest way to differentiate the centers is to cross out a couple of the most challenging centers for those students who are not ready for the particular skill. The students will still be participating in math centers, but they will just have fewer activities to complete.

If you have students that are significantly below level, you might want to consider using centers from a lower grade level. For example, if you teach third grade and you have a couple students who CANNOT add, you might want to get the second grade 2-digit addition centers for them. The good news is that the centers and the center books do not have the grade level listed. They won't know that it was intended for a second grader.

Are your centers consistent?
Students are more successful with activities that stay consistent. If they have to spend lots of time figuring out the directions and format of a center, they are going to be less likely to spend the necessary time doing the actual math. 

I gave my students the same centers all year. I changed topics about once per month, but the look, directions and expectations stayed the same. Students are more successful as the year progresses and they get used to the centers. It also saved me lots of time teaching the directions.

Second grade math centers

What should I do if students are not completing their centers?

First, it is important to decide why the student is not completing the work. 

Have they had sufficient class time? 
If lots of your students have not finished, then you might need to give the class more time. Based on my math center schedule, it takes my students 3-4 weeks to complete a set of 10 of my math centers

You may have to experiment a little and observe the class to determine the length of time the vast majority of your students need to complete the centers. If you look around and see that most of your students are done you can announce that all centers will be due in two days. Give some warning.

Are the skills too challenging?
Some students might be extra slow because they are struggling with the skills covered in the centers. The best way to avoid this is to give center activities after you have completed the unit in your curriculum. You can read more tips about helping students who are challenged in the section above.

Are they using their time wisely?
If you are noticing certain groups or students that are not using their time wisely, you may need to go back to the basics. Sometimes students are not clear on the procedures and other times they just need to be reminded. Pull the whole class back together and rehearse the procedures for math centers again. You can click HERE to see how I teach the procedures to my students. 

This is time well spent! It is an investment into your successful math centers for the rest of the year. 

What should I do if students are losing the center pieces?

Are center pieces easy to identify?
Students will be much more successful when putting center pieces away if it is easy to tell what center the piece belongs to. If you use the color version of my math centers most pieces are labeled with the number. Some are too small to label, but each center has the same background paper design and clip art images.

If you are using the black and white versions of my centers, you might want to print each center on a different color of paper. You can also have a couple students help you to write the center number on the back of each piece.

Third Grade Math Centers

Are your math centers easy for students to access and put away?
Students are going to lose less center pieces if they are very clear on where the center pieces belong. Make sure that you have your math centers organized and labeled! Click HERE to check out some organization ideas and free labels.

Math center organization

Do they need to practice?
You should practice the procedures for putting centers away when you start doing math centers in your classroom. But, you may need to take time to review. Show students exactly how you want it done. Have a couple students model how NOT to put the materials away. Discuss their mistakes as a whole group. Then have the same students put materials away perfectly. You can read more about how I teach the center procedures HERE.

Where are students completing the centers?
If you are having a big problem with missing pieces, I recommend that students not do the centers at their desk. It is just too easy for pieces to fall between the desks of get caught between some papers or a notebook.

Instead, designate a place on the carpet where centers are completed. Students can bring a clip board for recording answers. If the centers aren't being moved around the classroom too much, you probably won't lose as many pieces.

Can you make it into a competition?
Kids have a natural competitive streak and I like to take advantage of this in a positive way. Have your class competing against themselves. Can they go five days in a row without you finding one single math center piece on the floor after center time? Keep a tally of days on the board. If you find a stray piece, erase the tally marks and they start over. When they get the five days in a row, maybe they earn an extra five minutes of recess or free time on Friday. 

After they have mastered the five in a row a couple times, raise the ante, Can they go ten days in a row? Make it fun! Celebrate successful days!

Tips for helping students to behave and complete center work!

I hope this has been helpful and that you have some new ideas and strategies to make your math center time even more amazing! Math centers rule!

Helpful Resources

Have a Not So Wimpy day

Are you getting the most out of your Scholastic book order?

My favorite part of teaching was always to help a student to discover their love for reading. It felt like the greatest honor. Once a student grows that love for reading, I know that I have made a forever impact. 

The number one way to help a kiddo learn to love to read (according to me 😜) is to introduce them to tons of books. I want to surround them with possibilities. 

But that costs money. And money is something that teachers do not have a lot of.

In THIS post, I wrote about some ways that I grew my classroom library on a limited budget. My very favorite way was by using Scholastic book orders

Do you use Scholastic book orders in your classroom? Are you getting the most out of your orders? Are you earning points and filling your library with engaging and fee books?

Let me give you some tips to help you earn more bonus points that can be used to put books in the hands of your students.

1. Get Your Students Involved

I have received emails from parents that are crazy excited because their reluctant reader is begging them to buy a book from the book order. That is magic!

Get your students excited about the book order.

First, set aside 10-15 minutes each month for students to look at the book order forms together. Let them point books out to their neighbors. Let them talk about the books that they see. Encourage them to circle books that are on their wish list. Some students won't take the time to do this at home, so make time for it during class.

I also like to have them write one book each on a sticky note. This becomes our class wishlist. I use this list when choosing which books to order with all of my bonus points!

Another great way to get students involved and excited is to keep a tally of the number of books that have been ordered by the class each month.

Laminate THIS poster and hang it somewhere where students can see. 

Use a dry erase marker to update the number of books each day. You can even set a goal and celebrate as the class gets closer. The reward will be new books from the wishlist!

When you get your students involved in the book order, they get excited. When students are excited about ordering books, you are WINNING! And it usually means that more books will be ordered and more points will be earned for free books.

2. One reminder is NOT enough!

Parents are so busy. They have full-time jobs, church commitments and multiple kids with extra curricular activities and different teachers. Help them out and give them several reminders.

  • I like to send an email home on the day that the order forms go home. 
  • I add the deadline to our weekly newsletter. 
  • I send a book order email reminder again 2-3 days before orders are due. 
  • On the day before the deadline, I send kiddos home with one of THESE reminder bracelets. All you have to do is pint them, cut and then staple around the kiddos' wrists on their way out the door.

  • I also send a quick reminder through Remind texts. 

You are not bugging parents. You are helping them out!

The more orders that get turned in, the more points the class will earn and that means more books!

3. Refer all of your teacher friends.

Did you know that you get extra bonus points for referring new teachers to open a Scholastic account? At the time of publishing, you could earn an extra 250 points per teacher that signed up with your referral code.

So make sure everyone on your team is signed up. Check with new teachers. Help them to earn free books for their classroom too!

4. I love monthly specials.

Every month, Scholastic has special offers. They are REALLY good offers!

Sometimes they are extra bonus points. Sometimes it is a box of free books! 

Make sure that you check each month to see what special they are running. There is usually a minimum purchase necessary to get the special, but this can be the class goal!

5. Dollar books are a teacher's second best friend.

I am crazy in love with free books. But I am also a HUGE fan of dollar books. 

Every month, scholastic has a selection of books that are on sale for just $1. And these are good books that you and your students actually want to read! 

Stock up on dollar books for book raffles, books clubs and student gifts.

You can find the dollar titles on the front covers of the order forms.

I hope that this helps you to score some free (or almost free) books for your classroom library. More than anything I hope that these books help to get your students excited about reading! #bookwormsunite

Have a Not So Wimpy day!

4 Ways to Conquer the No Name Papers

No Name papers are a teacher's nemesis. They rank right up there with broken copy machines and glue sticks without lids. 😩

How do we handle No Name papers? How can we get our dear students to write their name on the line that clearly says, "NAME"? 

I asked the teachers in my third grade Facebook group these very questions. They came up with several fantastic ideas for you to try! So pick one or two that sound perfect for your group of kiddos!

1. Reminder Sign

Do you have a place in your classroom where students go to turn in their work? Try putting a reminder sign right on the turn in try. I like to put it right in the way, so kids have to move the sign to turn in the paper. 

You can click HERE to grab my sign for free.

2. Highlighting

Using a highlighter can be a great way to eliminate those No Name papers. Put highlighters in supply caddies or have each kiddo keep a highlighter in their desk. After they write their name, they are required to highlight it.

My favorite part of this strategy is that when students see their classmates getting out the highlighter, it reminds them to write their name on the paper and highlight it.

It's like peer pressure. But the good kind.

3. Name Checkers

Are you sick and tired of being the one that has to ask students to put their name on every paper? Why not make that one of your student jobs?

Assign two students to be the name checkers. A minute after students start working, they get up and walk around the room checking that names are on every paper. 

My job cards are also in that free file with the posters from above!

4. Stand Up

This is a great strategy if you are having a real big No Name problem in your classroom!

Every time you pass out a paper, students should stand after they have written their name on the paper. Once the entire class is standing, you will motion for them to sit down so that they can begin working.

Hopefully, you can do this for a while and then slowly phase it out as they get used to writing their name on papers. 

Or maybe you have to do it all year.... 😜

Hopefully one of these strategies will help solve the No Name paper problem in your classroom!

Have a Not So Wimpy day!

How do you teach writing?

How do you teach writing?

Do you have any idea how many people ask me this question every week? I think they ask so often because writing is so darn hard to teach. Am I right? 🙌🏻

Everyone is hoping that I have some magic fairy dust that I can sprinkle on their students' notebooks that will magically create complete sentences, paragraphs and well thought out responses. 

I have some bad news...

There is no magic fairy writing dust. #sosorry

But I do have some good news...

I have screwed up teaching writing for so long, that I have learned a few things that actually improved my students' writing! Good news for me, right?! Would you like for me to share? #ofcourse

So here is my version of the magic fairy dust...

Teach writing in units of study. #seriously

Huh? What are you talking about, Jamie?

Let me explain... 

Some teachers spend a few days working on an informational report for science. Then they have their kids spend a couple days writing a letter to the local fire department. Next, they spend a week on an opinion project that they found on TpT. They go back and forth from one genre of writing to the next.

Does this sound like you?

Well stop it!!!

You don't get good at something by doing it for a few days and then moving on to a new skill. That is just teasing. 

Students need to practice a writing genre for an extended time so that they can master the skill before moving on. Every type of writing has different skills that are needed. For example: narrative writing requires dialogue, opinion writing requires evidence, informational writing requires research. Some skills remain a constant, like writing a lead, but others change based on the style.

They need lessons specific to that type of writing. They need to see modeling. They need guided practice and they need independent practice. 

If you teach it thoroughly, they are so much more likely to remember how to do it when that nasty test comes along.

Here is the order of the units that I taught in third grade in a Common Core(ish) state:

1. Personal Narrative

I would start with this because everyone already knows a story about themselves. It does not require any research. It is also a great way to get to know my new students.

2. Informational

I move on to informational because I need students to master this one early. We will do informational writing, reading and research all year in science and social studies.

3. Opinion or Persuasive

This is actually my very favorite type of writing. Kids love to write about their opinion! I do this after the informational unit because fantastic opinion pieces require research and I teach that in the informational unit.

4. Fiction Narrative

I end my year with fiction stories. I do this because they are super fun and the perfect way to end the year after all of that dreaded testing. 

Don't tell kids what they have to write about!

If you want to see your students' writing improve dramatically, stop telling them what they have to write about! Seriously, no one likes to be told what they HAVE to do. Give them choice. 

Story time...

I hate snakes. I live in the desert, but I can proudly boast that I have NEVER seen a snake in the wild.  (Knock on wood.) I hate snakes so much that I refuse to go in the reptile exhibit at the zoo. I would send my kids in alone. No Mom of the Year award for me!

If you told me that I had to write an informational report about snakes, I would pee my pants. I'm NOT looking up facts about snakes! There will be pictures! I will have nightmares! 

Trust me...it's going to be one sad and pathetic report. 

I love my Golden Retriever. Cash is the most handsome dog ever. I know that you think your dog is handsome, but he's not as handsome as my dog. For real.

He's so intelligent and I love the way that he protects his family. I would totally geek out on a report about Golden Retrievers. I would want to read books about them and look at every website I could find. I bet my report would rock. 

Your students are just like me.

Well not JUST like me.... #thankgoodness

Your students have interests. When you let them write about something that excites them, they will produce their best work. 

My only rule about writing topics is that the topic must fit in the unit of study that we are currently working on. So the Golden Retriever report would have to wait until we got to the informational report unit.

Share and Celebrate Writing ALL THE TIME!

Give your students a reason to want their writing to improve! 

First, writers need to share their work. Otherwise, why write? I know that lots of teachers do an author share chair where one kid comes up and reads their story. I'm sorry to burst your bubble---but that's kinda boring for everyone else. #truthbomb

Plus, only one person is sharing. The others have to wait a couple of weeks before they get to share. That is NOT motivating.

Let your authors share every day. They don't need complete published pieces to be able to share. At the end of your writing time, have kiddos turn to a partner and share something that they added to their piece. It can be a sentence that they are proud of or even something they are struggling with.

Lots (not all) of students will be more motivated to write if they know that they will need/get to share their writing with someone.

Besides sharing, make sure that you are actually celebrating your writers. 

At the end of a unit, have a writing celebration.

Maybe students can be stars for the day! Have them come dressed up. Roll out the red carpet. Students walk the carpet while you take pictures. They will take their place at the mic and share their published piece. The crowd will go wild! (Holding an applause sign will ensure this.)

Maybe you can invite families for an open house where writing is displayed for everyone. Or even invite a buddy class and share writing with each other.

Have you ever thrown a writing pajama party? Everyone loves a bedtime story! Lay out some pillows and blankets, dim the lights and let your authors be the readers. 

The point is....have fun! If it is fun, students will naturally want to improve. 

They will be excited for the next celebration! You can count down the days on the board and keep the specifics a secret until that day. Build it up!

The Secret Sauce

Although I cannot magically turn your students into award winning authors, I can make it just a tad bit easier to teach writing in your classroom!

I have writing units that include EVERYTHING you need to teach fun and meaningful units of study. 
  • lesson plans
  • anchor charts
  • student printables
  • mentor text passages
  • task cards
  • videos
  • rubrics
  • celebration ideas
and MORE!

All you have to add is the excitement and the sharpened pencils. No fairy dust necessary!

Have a Not So Wimpy day!

Flexible Seating

Well hello all you Not So Wimpy fans!!  I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to be a guest blogger on the Not So Wimpy blog.  I am Amanda Quisenberry and I teach 3rd grade for a wonderful school in West Texas (GO PIRATES).  I am married and have three fantastic kids who are growing up way too fast.  I am just starting my 5th year in the classroom, and I still can’t believe how blessed I am to get to do what I do everyday.  

I never thought in one million (word form) years that I would ever be asked to write for Jamie’s blog.  Why you ask?  First of all, I DON’T WRITE.  Anything, ever.  I almost didn’t apply for graduate school because the 500 word essay totally freaked me out.  However, if you teach in Texas, then you are familiar with T-TESS and all that that implies.  

Anywho, my personal goal this year is to implement Writer’s Workshop, which is why I stumbled upon Jamie’s blog one sunny day in June, and my life has not been the same since.  Seriously, now I actually print things in color. I also thought if I expect my kids to write, then I guess I better write, too.  So when Jamie asked for people to submit our names and ideas, I jumped at the chance.  With both feet.  Into sub zero waters.  Without a life jacket.  

But I made it, and I am here to tell you all about how I utilize flexible seating in my classroom.


Many teachers shudder at the thought of flexible seating.  I did too at one point, but I am here to tell you, if it is done right, it can be a game changer.  Let’s go back to July 2016 when I first jumped on the flexible seating bandwagon.  I bought really cute chairs from Target and a couple of yoga balls.  I stuck those suckers out there and called it done.  Sounds good, right?  What could possibly be wrong with this scenario.  

Ummmm, WHAT IS RIGHT WITH THIS SCENARIO?!?  For starters, I did not put any type of system into place for who was going to get to sit in the fun seats and when.  I mean, they are mature 3rd graders, they should be able to handle this.  Let’s just say that within two weeks I had given all the “fun” (notice my use of quotations this time) seats away.  

However, I was bound and determined to find a way to make it work.  I obsessed all summer long about how to implement a functional flexible seating arrangement for the new school year and by golly, I think I’ve got it.  


Some may think the most important part might be the actual seating, but for me, that was the easiest to tackle.  I kept 7 desks as is, took the legs off 3 desks, bought some kid friendly beach chairs on clearance at Target, 3 lap desks from Michael’s, and found a fun round table in storage at my school.  Flexible seating options done!!  

Now, what do I do with all of this?  Anyone who knows me will probably tell you I am uber organized and structured so the idea of NOT having assigned seats was something I could not wrap my brain around.  How do I manage who sits where?  What do I do with those kids who just aren’t making the right choice?  Do I get rid of all my desks?  So many questions and so few answers.  

Last year, our school stopped using SmartBoards and this was how I held my kids accountable for taking their own attendance.  I am pretty sure I was late on attendance everyday.  You see, prior to that, my kids all had a balloon that they could “pop” when they arrived.  Whoever’s balloon wasn’t popped was absent, and I desperately wanted to get back to the kids doing something to mark their attendance.  The only thought that kept coming to me was clothespins.  And then it hit me like my 3rd pregnancy did.  

Why not combine attendance with the ability for the kids to choose their own seats? Thus the Flexible Seating and Attendance chart was born.  I am taking suggestions for a better name.

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 6.20.17 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-18 at 6.20.32 PM.png

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Here are some of the pictures from the chart that is hanging in my room.  I actually have five other choices as well, but I figured you would get the idea with just these pictures.  As you can see, there is a picture of that choice with the rules a student is expected to follow if they choose that seat.  The numbers represent how many kids can pick that choice.  Each student has a clothespin with his or her name on it that is clipped to the left side of the chart.  

The chart hangs right inside my door so the first thing the kids do when they come in in the mornings is move their clip over to the other side and place it on a number to show they are present and what seating option they are choosing for that day.  If someone comes in and wants the RelaxiRug but both numbers are covered, then that choice is not longer available.  Bummer. This has actually worked great for me.  I have not had any issues with kids moving other kids clips or fighting over seats.  

“BUT MRS. Q, I AM ALWAYS LATE...I don’t ever get to choose what I want.”

At my school the doors open for students to come into the building at 7:15.  For those kids that arrive that early, they must go sit in the cafeteria until the first bell rings at 7:45.  Now, I do have some kids whose parents show up right around 7:40 and they are allowed to just hang out at the entrance until the bells rings.  

What this means is that those kids who have been here since 7:15 don’t actually get first choice.  The kids that come down from the cafeteria are usually the last ones in the room, and they get the less-fun leftovers.  I thought long and hard on how to handle this situation.  

At first, I was using Class Dojo to randomly pick two people at the end of the day to go ahead and make a choice for the next day.  That worked, but one day while the kids were getting the room cleaned up and getting ready to go home, I had two sweet friends who were doing everything the way they were supposed to.  They had gone through the checklist of Stack and Pack Procedures, done them all, and were sitting quietly at their spots showing me they were ready to go.  

So guess who gets first choice now? You got it.  The first two people to Stack and Pack correctly and sit at their spots quietly get to choose their seats for the next day.  It works like a charm.  For now at least. I am sure I will need to come up with something more creative in the future.  


Community supplies, community supplies, community supplies.  Need I say it one more time?  We utilize community supplies in my classroom and it keeps the mess down to a minimum.  My kids have certain items they know they are supposed to keep at their desk every day (box with pencils and crayons, Unfinished Work folder, binder, and IPads) and nothing else.  I am always very specific with how I want things to be left when we line up to go somewhere.  

Once everyone is lined up, I check around the room and if anyone’s spot is messy, they have to go clean it up before we can go anywhere.  I was a stickler about this the first two weeks and now I rarely have to ask anyone to go back and straighten their spot up.


These are just a few examples of how my kids are expected to leave their spots when we go somewhere.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much this has helped keep desks and lockers cleaned out and decluttered.  For those kids who are sitting at a traditional desk, they have to clean their stuff out everyday because there is no guarantee they will sit there again tomorrow.



I am just about finished, but I also wanted to share my Refocus Desk with all you patient readers. This is exactly what it sounds like.  If I have a student who is not making the best choices, or just isn’t staying on task, he or she will go to the Refocus Desk for 10 minutes.  After that 10 minutes, they are allowed to go back to their seats.  

However, if they have to make another trip the the Refocus Desk, they will lose free choice for the next day.  Now, I wish I could tell you if this actually works or not but I can’t.  I have never had to send anyone to the Refocus Desk more than once in a day.  The kids realize very quickly that it is not a fun spot to be.  So hey, I guess it does work.  Woohoo!!


I leave you with pictures of my kiddos enjoying their seating.  I hope that I have enlightened you a little about flexible seating.  It doesn’t have to be a monster, but can be if not approached with a well, thought out plan.  I would also like to thank Jamie Sears for this incredible opportunity to step out of my box and trusting me to do it.  




Thanks for reading,