Flexible Seating and Classroom Management

How does flexible seating and classroom management work? When I am helping teachers launch flexible seating one of the main concerns is "will my class be out of control, since I am giving up some control?" And my answer always is, if you already have strong classroom management, then the switch is very easy. If management is something you are working on, I hope that these ideas help you! 

In my classroom I use 2 things for classroom management. I use Whole Brain Teaching and Gold Tags!!! I do not use things such as clipcharts, the flip your card system, prizes, take away recess, etc. I am firm believer that all of those systems only work for students who can behave on their own. To me those seem to be a way to "publicly shame" students. I would be mortified if my principal asked me to clip down, flip my card, or take away part of my lunch break because I whispered to my neighbor during a staff meeting. I have used the flip your card system (during my first 3 years of teaching) but it truly never worked and I felt horrible every time I made a student flip their card. So I knew that I needed to make a change in my classroom. 
I am a firm believer in positive behavior management.

These are the 5 rules (click to get these rule posters) from Whole Brain Teaching that I live by. Every issue that comes up in the classroom can be dealt with by referring back to one of these rules. In the beginning of the school year we go over these rules many times a day. Then as the year goes on we refer to them when issues come up or after coming back from a break. I love that these rules are things to DO instead of things not to do. Totally positive mindset!!

The next thing that changed my life was the Gold Tag system that I learned about from A Teeny Tiny Teacher.  When I read her post a few years back I knew that this is what I was looking for! Basically I pass out gold tags (yellow strips of laminated yellow construction paper) for any and all positive behavior! In the first few weeks I carry these babies with me everywhere, so I can pass them out at anytime. In line quietly after recess? Gold Tag! Raised a quiet hand? Gold Tag! Followed directions quickly? Maybe 2 Gold Tags for you!!! I love how simple and easy this system is. When a student is not doing what I would expect I usually give their neighbor a tag and say something like "Brooke, here is a gold tag for you since you are sitting pancake, pretzels on the carpet". Then my other sweet friend will fix their behavior without me drawing any attention to them. I do not take away tags. It's just not my thing. I make sure to reward my sweet kiddos who struggle with making smart choices as often as possible. The more positive recognition they get the more they will want to please you! Promise!!! On Friday, we sit in a big circle on the floor and count up the tags. I teach the kids to put them in groups of 5 pretending the tags are tally marks. Then whoever has the most gets to choose what area they want to go to first for free time. We then keep going by who has the most next until everyone has chosen. (A Teeny Tiny Teacher uses a chart for the kids to choose, but I just let them tell me and off they go) The kids put their tags back in the bucket so that everyone starts over on Monday. 

I promise that this system can work at any school! I have used it at 2 VERY different schools and it worked wonders at both places. Give it a try!!! You won't regret it!!!


  1. Hi There, here is an article that I wrote about flexible seating in a high school class!

  2. Where do your students keep their gold tags throughout the week?


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