Hey There Teacher Friends!
EVERY. SINGLE. THING. in my SHOP FOR TEACHERS is available at a 25% DISCOUNT on August 21st.
It works like this...Everything in my store is ON SALE at a BIG DISCOUNT.
Use the promo code BTSBONUS18.
When you do, TpT will take off another 5% off for a total of 25% OFF.
This is the perfect time to grab any of the following to get ready for the new year.

  • THE CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION BUNDLE (I created this to teach you how to get rid of those piles of paper and enable you to leave at dismissal with a neat and organized classroom every afternoon)

  • PRINT AND GO SUB PLANS for GRADES 1-5 (I made these so you can easily call in sick on a moment's notice and spend the day watching Netflix in bed in your jammies like a sick person should)

Homework is easy with math spiral review no prep printables. Elementary teachers also love them for morning work, quizzes, RtI, bell ringers, guided math workshop warmups & assessments. Homework folders, packets, or binders make organization and management easy. They eliminate the need for test prep yet increases standardized test scores. They’re for second grade, third grade, fourth grade, & fifth grade & include answer keys, digital projectable, & data analysis. Grab the free samples.
  • SPIRAL REVIEW HOMEWORK or MORNING WORK FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR (I developed these because I HATED giving homework and I HATED having to do test prep review. This solved those problems by making homework purposeful and allowing my students to master proficiency on the grade level standards throughout the year.
  • READING COMPREHENSION GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS for the ENTIRE YEAR (I designed these so my students could practice all the important reading comprehensions skills using ANY book. I loved that all my students could participate in the same activity no matter their reading level and they loved that there was so much variety with the different thematic pages for every season.)

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The Clutter-Free Classroom

If you are new here, allow me to introduce myself!

I'm Jodi and I am the face behind The Clutter-Free Classroom. You can learn lots more about me by clicking on the link over on the right sidebar and/or by following me on Instagram.

I've been a teacher blogger for over a decade so there is a HUGE library of helpful info that can be right here on this blog. I specialize in classroom organization, classroom management, classroom decor and high-quality resources for 1st through 5th grade. I welcome you to grab any or all of these freebies found here.

I also host a FREE Facebook Group for Teachers.  It is a place for you to ask questions and get answers that will help to make the important work you do each and every day easier. Of course, you are welcome to just read along too.

The group was formed with the goal of being a positive place where I could connect with teachers and help to offer solutions to common problems such as:

  • getting rid of all those PILES of paper
  • creating easy systems for staying organized throughout the year
  • finding ways to create a classroom that runs itself
  • saving you time so you can reclaim your nights and weekends

The Clutter-Free Classroom Facebook Group - Solutions for BUSY Teachers is a very supportive and friendly community. We would love to have you join us. 

Finally...you are just in time to be part of The Clutter-Free Email Club. It is also 100% free and is about to kick off for the 2018-2019 school year. Once a week, club members receive one email from me. Inside you will ALWAYS find a helpful teaching tip and a FREE resource you can print and use in your classroom with your K-5 students the very next day. You can join that here--

6 Problems with Flexible Seating in the Classroom

Are you using flexible seating in the classroom? If you are using flexible seating or are considering flexible seating you will want to read this article that points out 6 potential problems with alternative seating and offers solutions.

In education there will always be trends and Pinterest certainly fuels that. The latest obsession with teachers everywhere is “flexible seating in the classroom.” But, is an alternative seating classroom best for every student or teacher? Flexible seating success completely depends on how strong the teacher’s classroom management skills are, the flexible seating design, and how it is presented, implemented and maintained. I don’t want to be the buzzkill on the buzzword, but there are some issues that need to be discussed. 

This blog post will provide food for thought for teachers who are using or considering using flexible seating in their classrooms. It will point out potential problems and things you may not have thought about if you hopped on the flexible seating bandwagon without weighing all the pros and cons. 

Designing your classroom in an alternative manner provides your students with the opportunity to work in a relaxed environment. It sets the stage for collaboration and real world simulation. There are a lot of benefits and when executed properly alternative seating can be beneficial to your students. I caution you not to jump into flexible seating without thinking through all aspects involved and encourage you to reflect on your current classroom design if you have already begun using it.

Are you using flexible seating in the classroom? If you are using flexible seating or are considering flexible seating you will want to read this article that points out 6 potential problems with alternative seating and offers solutions.

Kids need structure.
Childhood anxiety is at an epidemic level. It’s important for students to feel safe and secure in their learning environments. Not knowing where they will sit day to day can be further cause for feeling anxious about going to school. For most children the need to have a defined, consistent space is real. Does that mean they need to stay seated in one spot all day? Absolutely not. But they do need to know there is a space all their own.

Solution: Offer a variety of seating and work spaces within your classroom but designate a table or a desk for each student’s exclusive use.

Be aware of IEPS.
Many student plans specifically include language about ‘preferential seating.’ Some students have disabilities that affect their abilities to see, hear, pay attention to, or participate in activities. Preferential seating means that a student’s seat is placed in a location that is most beneficial for his/her learning in the classroom.  It is not only good practice, but a legal requirement. Make sure your flexible seating design is in compliance with every student’s IEP.

Solution: Collaborate with the SPED team to define what preferential seating means to each student and guarantee those needs will be met prior to bringing in other seating choices. Have a plan that ensures the students with IEPs are not made to feel excluded from those alternative seats.

Safety should be a priority.
When I first started teaching my teaching partner removed the legs from a classroom table so it was close to the floor. The kids sat on the floor when working there. This seemed like a fun idea until a classroom aide delivering copies to the teacher tripped over the table and broke her shoulder. Many districts have rules against bringing in outside furniture of any kind. Be responsible and also know the liability you face if a students falls off a stool provided by you and chips a tooth or rolls off a yoga ball and cracks a skull.

Solution: Discuss your plans for your classroom with your principal. If you have his/her support determine how you will communicate the design to your students’ parents. Have them sign permission slips for their children to use the alternative seating arrangements. Spell out exactly what those seats include specifically.

Classroom floors are disgusting.
Think about how many kids have peed their pants or vomit on those floors over the years. Then add in the sneezes that have made their way down there. Now factor in that kids use the school restroom where little boys have “missed their target” and remember that the same sneakers that were just standing next to the urinals are now walking on your floors. And while we are at it lets also take into account all the other nastiness those shoes walk in daily.

Solution: Have your students each bring a towel or yoga mat from home to sit on when working on the floor.

Be cautious with use of the term “research-based.”
If you are telling your students’ parents and your administrators that you have elected to use a flexible seating design in your classroom because it is research-based be sure to look into the actual research. There is a lot of evidence that sitting at a desk all day is bad for the health of children and adults. There is also research that supports the benefits of physical and psychological comfort in the classroom. However, the lack of traditional seating has the potential to cause other issues that research has proven to be harmful. Often when you look at photos from classrooms with flexible seating you’ll see children sitting with their legs in the W position or else slumped over with curved spines. 

Solution: Be aware of all the related research and be prepared to speak intellectually if you need to defend your choices. Have articles at the ready to share if needed.

Choice seating means the students actually have a choice.
Some teachers are removing all the desks from their classroom and having the students work on the floor or at the one table that remains. Others have created elaborate rotation boards for the various seating options in the classroom. Twenty-five kids fighting over one beanbag chair is not flexible seating. 

Solution: Provide equitable options for seating. As I mentioned I successfully used alternative seating options in my own 3rd grade classroom for many years. I kept things simple though. I replaced my desks with tables, but every student had a designated seat that was their ‘home base.’ I kept my counter tops clear so students had the option to stand and work if they wanted. I had a class supply of clipboards and the children brought towels or yoga mats from home which meant students also had the choice of working on the floor.

If you are persuing flexible seating in your classroom you may be interested in these items. 
Clutter-Free Classroom is a participant in the in the Amazon Services LLC Affiliate Program. Clicking on any of the images below will take you to Amazon.com where you can view the specs on each of the items, read reviews and purchase if interested.

Pick and click any or all of the options below.

8 Things Teachers MUST DO on the 1st Day of School

I've had a lot of first days of school as a teacher and have learned a few things along the way. This list of 8 things a teacher must do on the first day of school contains back to school activity ideas, tips for classroom management and organization strategies to use right away, and suggestions for building strong home to school relationships right from the start.

By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.