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Flexible Seating Storage and Organization

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So you’re trying flexible seating… or considering trying it out?! But you’re thinking, “If the students don’t have desks, where will they put their supplies?” There are plenty of options! 

Baskets for Flexible Seating Classrooms

 
First of all, if you don’t have many other options, think baskets, baskets, and more baskets. I got these baskets a few years ago from Oriental Trading Company and they were terrific.  They were mostly used as book bins, but they could hold just about anything, especially if you got smaller and larger sizes. 


Headphone Storage

Before I got rid of most of the desks, students kept their headphones in their desks. I saw this idea online somewhere. It’s just a shoe organizer hung over the door.  I got mine at WalMart but you can find them almost anywhere, even at CVS and of course Amazon. The reason some are on the side is because the students were not tall enough to reach the top row.

Supply Storage

We went with community supplies – this way kids didn’t have to worry about pencil boxes. After a failed first idea (I will show you below), we kept crayons together (sorted by color), markers, scissors, and glue in small baskets (I told you baskets were important) on an old bookshelf.

Pencil Storage

Pencils were kept in pencil cups on/in each table area. I also had a “broken pencils” bucket on top of the supply bookshelf.
This was my failed experiment at trying to keep some of each type of supply handy for students at their table. The baskets, though handy, weren’t the right size, or it was just too confusing. Crayons would disappear and kids had trouble getting supplies out of it. Switching to just pencils at each table were a life saver. These purple baskets found a new life, however, as containers for STEM supplies!

Chair Pockets

A lot of teachers that don’t use desks have these pockets for the backs of chairs. You can find them at Amazon (cheaper than the teacher store online) by clicking the image.

Mailboxes and Cubbies for Flexible Seating Storage

I didn’t have a picture of it, but I did use this exact kind of  plastic Storex brand mailbox system for mail for students. Easy to keep organized! I did buy it myself, and saved the receipt for tax season! This is the third year it’s been in use and it is in excellent condition.
So I also didn’t have a picture of it in use, but my principal was able to get a wonderful Jonticraft cubby piece of furniture for my classroom. It actually came with plastic bins (not shown) and I think we found the best price at Schooloutfitters.com. If you can get one, through Donor’s Choose, or any way, go for it!

Carts

                                
I also love these rainbow carts. They come in the tall skinny style (like this one seen at our HS library) and the 5×2 style, seen on the right.  They would be great for student cubbies (less than half the price, of the jonticraft cubby bookshelf but smaller) You can grab them at Amazon, and Michaels’ etc.

I have one of these carts and keep it right next to my spot at the teacher table. It holds my small group Fundations supplies, guided reading books and more. I got mine at Michaels in mint green but Amazon Basics has this white one and a black.

Crates

Crates, crates, crates! Almost as helpful as baskets! Because I didn’t want to fill my students’ cubbies totally up with books, we kept our hardcover, 300 page Journeys reading books in two of these, and stored them under the tall table. A third and fourth crate were also under the tall table and held our clipboards. 

Lap Desks

These are not exclusively for storage, but for flexible seating, lap desks are an inexpensive option AND they stack up for very easy, organized storage. I got these either at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but Michaels was cheaper.

You can also consider seating or tables with storage included. Genius! If you can’t afford or get an Otto stool, try items like these (Hobby Lobby  I think) that serve multiple functions!

Paper Storage

Where did we store paper in my room? We used that purple unit at the back right of the beach chair table! 6 drawers, so I stored three kind of paper (2 drawers for each). It was a hand me down from another teacher so it was free.

Task Card Storage

These photo storage cases (Iris) are amazing. I store all our task cards like Toothy, Mystery Words, and the spelling and vocabulary cards from our Journeys units in these. They are compact and fit nicely on a bookshelf. Check them out on the bottom shelf of this bookshelf below. You can also see I am using one of those purple mini crates to hold our Everyday Math cards.

Center Materials

We used these plastic trays from Oriental Trading for our Guided Math and reading center materials. Very convenient and they stack nicely for storage and help keep materials all in one area!

Did you get at least one or two new ideas for how to organize materials in a flexible seating classroom? I hope so! Let me know if you have a favorite organizational tool or strategy in the comments!

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