Symmes Elementary School tries flexible seating, and teacher says it pays off

Posted: 4:30 AM, Sep 18, 2017
Updated: 2017-09-18 07:45:56-04
Why this teacher ditched the desks
Why this teacher ditched the desks

SYMMES TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- To some parents, Danielle Burns' classroom looks more like a library or coffee shop.

That's the idea. And Burns thinks it improves learning.

She's one of the teachers who volunteered to try a flexible-seating program for Symmes Elementary School. The school asked one classroom per grade level to take part.

Burns' fourth-graders can choose from rocking chairs, bar-height chairs, couches and wobbly seats. There are no desks.

"Children that normally would sit on a regular chair and lean back on the regular chair -- that would always have to go over there and say, 'Be careful' -- they choose the rockers. The students that tend to have the need to move side to side, they use the wobbly chairs," Burns said.

She said she doesn't have to redirect students as much; she thinks they're more focused on learning because they choose seats that fit their personalities.

"I like just having something on my back, and these rocking chairs, you can't fall over on them, and I love wobbling around," student Biogan Baum said.

For Burns, the main challenge has been learning students' names. But she said she wouldn't want to go back to a normal classroom setting. She's got a new whiteboard table coming soon, so students in rocking chairs can gather around and write on it.

"It's just comfortable coming in," Burns said. "I think I feel more relaxed."