Discover SSA's Active Learning Classrooms
Over the past two years, Solomon Schechter Academy has begun major renovations on our classrooms to provide flexible seating with a whole-child approach to learning. These Active Learning Classrooms (currently in Grades 4 and 5) offer our students three major benefits: movement, choice, and differentiation.
Flexible seating means that when students are learning, they have the freedom to find comfortable spaces around the room to work. It is a concept rooted in educational research that encourages students to choose their type of seating based on their learning preferences. Some students prefer to stand while learning, others prefer to sit, either on a chair, the floor, or on their knees. Many students need to move while working - just like many adults do. Our classroom “work spaces” look different from traditional rows of desks or tables. Instead, students are provided with a variety of seating options to choose from.
Stay tuned to our newsletter and to our social media channels in the coming weeks, as we share insights and expertise with you about our new classrooms, what our students and parents think, and how our teachers are seeing a difference!
One of the three pillars of Flexible seating is movement. It is a known fact that everyone needs to move, especially children. Flexible seating allows all students to do so, while learning and doing what is expected of them. Students can wobble, rock, bounce, lean, or stand, all which increases their mental and physical strength. By being able to move, students' minds are more alert and focused, which, in the end, has a direct correlation with their success.
When students can move around while learning, a more active, engaged, enthusiastic, and relaxed classroom environment is created. Studies have also shown that movement while learning allows for better academic performance and improved behaviour over time. It is clear that flexible seating helps to make learning fun!
The second pillar of flexible seating is choice. Anyone who understands the benefits of flexible seating knows that it empowers students. Our active learning classrooms provide students the opportunity to make choices within their environment. They also permit students the choice of where to work, and with whom. They provide opportunities to easily work individually, in pairs, in small groups, or as a whole class. Students may also choose to change their spots and positions when they need (with the teacher's discretion). All of these important decision-making moments provide students with good practice to help them learn how to make choices that are most beneficial for them. As Dr. Robert Marzono, a leading researcher in education, beautifully wrote in his blog: "Choice in the classroom has been linked to increases in student effort, task performance, and subsequent learning."
The third pillar of flexible seating is differentiation. Flexible seating in the classroom promotes differentiated learning in a variety of ways:
1- Allows for individualized learning: By providing students with a variety of seating options, they can choose the environment that best suits their needs. For example, some students may prefer to work independently in a quiet space, while others may thrive in collaborative groups. Flexible seating allows for this type of individualization.
2- Accommodates different learning styles: Students have unique learning styles (kinesthetic, visual, auditory, read/write), and flexible seating can accommodate them. Kinesthetic learners may prefer to sit on the floor in a scoop seat, or stand at a work table, while auditory learners may opt for a desk. By providing a variety of seating options, students can choose the one that is best suited for how they learn.
3- Increases engagement: When students are comfortable in their environment, they are more likely to be engaged and responsible for their learning. Flexible seating provides a comfortable, inviting, active learning space, which can lead to increased motivation to learn!
Hear from our students what they love about their active learning classrooms