Alexander High School French Teacher Rebecca Sundberg is engineering an innovative approach to classroom learning and participation. Ms. Sundberg is using the Jerry Hall Classroom Impact Grant to create flexible seating for students in her classroom. According to Ms. Sundberg, the most important benefit of flexible seating is that it helps students stay more focused, leading to more time on task in the classroom. More time on task leads to more learning. Grant funds purchased fit chair balance balls, kneeling chairs, a sofa, bistro table, plus other innovative seating options.
“Students have a voice and choice where they sit in the classroom and where they feel they learn best,” says Ms. Sundberg. “No one can claim a seat as his or her own, and everyone must respect another student’s choice. This sense of ownership and respect is a part of our school’s improvement plan of giving each student a sense of belonging.”
The responses from students have been overwhelmingly positive. “The flexible seating allows me to prosper as a student,” says Will Blevins. “It helps me stay comfortable and focused. It also offers a lot of variety for all kinds of students.”
As student Cannon Hicks explains, the seating reminds him of the comforts of home, describing the classroom as “a more pleasing environment to learn in.”
Macey Hodges says, “flexible seating helps me learn better because I’m way more comfortable and relaxed.”
Ms. Sundberg’s classroom also offers plenty of traditional student desks as well. The new seating arrangement alongside the conventional desks makes the class look more spacious and open. Students have often remarked about having more room and not being isolated from their peers.
The Douglas County Education Foundation awards Classroom Impact Grants, which are competitively-awarded to Douglas County School System teachers for innovative programs and projects that directly impact students. Every year, Classroom Impact Grants serve thousands of students across all grade levels. This year’s foundation-funded grants, including Ms. Sundberg’s flexible seating grant, total $32,400 and are reaching 9,820 students across all grade levels. For more information, visit https://douglaspubliceducationtrust.org/
- Two students chose a bistro table for their day in class.
- Jerry Hall, center, joins two students on a sofa. The Douglas County Education Foundation funded the flexible seating Classroom Impact Grant in honor of Mr. Hall.
- The students in the foreground chose balance ball chairs, and the ones in the back chose a high top table.