Roanoke County first grade classroom non-traditional seating helps focus students

By Jenna Zibton - Anchor
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ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Keeping a child's focus can be difficult.  One Roanoke County teacher found a simple way to make students feel more comfortable while letting them get some movement in all day too.

First graders wiggle, kick and move a lot. Sometimes hard plastic chairs get uncomfortable so students find their own ways of making it work, even putting their assignments inside their desk. But across the hall in Lori Clark's first-grade class the seating arrangements are different. It's all by design.

"I don't like staying in one seat all the time," said Harper Fertitta, a Clearbrook Elementary School student.

"I think if we don't as teachers keep evolving and changing with what's going on we're going to get stuck and our kids are not going to be thriving," said Clark.

Every Monday morning the students can come in and pick their own seats. Some choose crates where they can sit down at a traditional desk. Others choose to sit on the floor while others pick bouncy balls to sit on.

If for any reason they don't like their choice that week they can always choose to move back to a traditional chair and desk.

"I can try different kinds of seats every time and some of them are not that comfy," said Fertitta.

"It's fun and cool," said Reagan Heslep, Clearbrook Elementary School student.

It's also paying off. The first graders say the new seating helps them learn better while also being comfortable.

"This way it allows them to get engaged better, it allows them to socialize in a different way and talk and grow as peers too," said Clark.

Another first-grade teacher is currently writing grants to buy the same type of seating for her room. Other teachers at Clearbrook are starting to add one or two types of choices.

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