Students thrive using unique seats at Cape Girardeau elementary - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Students thrive using unique seats at Cape Girardeau elementary school

(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS) (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS) (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS) (Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)

Teachers at one Cape Girardeau elementary school are taking a different approach to helping students learn.

The kids get to pick where they sit and on what they choose to sit.

Two classrooms at Franklin Elementary School have been equipped with what some might consider unorthodox seating choices.

There are yoga balls to sit on, little rocking chairs, very low tables, pillows and even a tent.

"You do see a lot more wiggling in kids," fourth grade teacher Whittney Carter said. "They're not always comfortable. Sometimes their desks are too low for their chairs to scoot in. So here they are able to pick what's comfortable for their height or what's comfortable for maybe that morning. They didn't sleep well and so their backs are sore and they would rather just stretch out [for example]."

As students walked into their fourth-grade classroom Wednesday morning, they quietly picked their spots, gathered books and assignments and started working.

Some were bouncing on the yoga balls, while others picked out a pillow and sat on the ground.

"The yoga balls really allow them to be able to bounce without being too distracting. The tall chairs help their feet to dangle so if they're moving their feet, it doesn't bother anyone," Carter added.

She said it's important that students have a choice in how they prefer learning to fit their needs.

"I wanted to be able to give them that responsibility and give them that choice," Carter said. "It's really helped out for them to have a choice in where they sit in the day helps them to have a choice in their education and they just work harder and they focus more."

Fourth-grade student Armonee Moser picked the rocking chair for her first class.

"I like them more because I like to rock back and forth," Moser said. "I haven't got in them yet to sit in and I really wanted to try it."

Moser said she feels this seating arrangement helps her feel comfortable in school and enables her to learn more.

"I like to rock back and forth. I don't like to sit still," Moser added. "It's a little more on the ground and I don't have to sit up in a chair and it's all straight and it's curved."

First-grade teacher Mara Uhls also gives her students a choice of where they want to sit as well.

Uhls said at the beginning of the school year the students thought it was a little different, but quickly got accustomed to their new environment.

"Honestly compared to my years in the past where I did have an assigned seat, I just feel that this year overall has gone a lot smoother and we've had a lot more fun with this," Uhls said.

Uhls found the idea online and noticed that other teachers had success with this new arrangement. However, she improvised a bit in making it work in her classroom and actually spent very little money.

"The tables that are in here are actually just the regular tables. I just raised the legs on this one and then on the low tables, I took the legs off," explained Uhls.

She said she believes it's well worth it and recommends other teachers try the approach as well.

"I don't have to worry about if they're on task because they pick their spot whatever we're working on. It just gives them that extra boost of focus," Uhls added.

As far as who sits where the students have to work that out with their classmates.

"It also helps with social skills if there are any arguments. They learn to deal with that on their own. They know that if it has to come to me they're going back to regular chairs," Carter said.

The teachers we spoke with said this is an improvement to help kids learn and will continue to sit this way to help their educational experience.

"That's what we're all here for, for all children to succeed so whatever helps them to strive and do their best is what I want in my classroom," Carter added.

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