Uplands Elementary School SD#82 Coast Mountains

School Name: Uplands Elementary School

School District: SD#82 Coast Mountains

Inquiry Team Members:Tina McKay: tina.McKay@cmsd.bc.ca, Veralynn Munson: veralynn.munson@cmsd.bc.ca, Patricia Mouland: patricia.mouland@cmsd.bc.ca

Inquiry Team Contact Email: patricia.mouland@cmsd.bc.ca

Type of Inquiry: NOII (focus on core competencies, OECD learning principles, etc.)

Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Area(s): Other: All curricular areas

Focus Addressed: Flexible learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? We wanted to explore the effects of alternate seating in regards to the on-task behaviour of individual learners.

Scanning: Baseline data was collected for a two week period of time. Teachers recorded off-task behaviour that distracted others in the class from 9:00-10:30 daily. Target learners were also asked to reflect on their own ability to stay on-task during this same period of time and what strategies they already use to assist them with this. We considered that learning needs to be reflective (First People’s Principle of Learning). Having learners think about their learning and self-check their on/off-task behavior and the strategies that they use to refocus, has them reflect on their learning. We also recognized that the learning environment needs to be learner-centered, recognizing that each learner may require something different even when exploring seating options. We wanted to be sure that their learning environment was profoundly personalized and sensitive to their individual needs (OECD Principles).

Focus: It had been our experience that an increased number of learners were having difficulty staying focused on tasks. They were engaging in fidgeting behavior that was distracting to those around them. We were hoping that if we offer alternate seating that allowed options to move or stand without distracting others, it would reduce their off-task and disruptive behaviour. We wanted learners to be able to recognize when they were off-task or disruptive and choose a seating option that would support them with their on-task behavior.
We wanted them to experience more sense of control and more academic success.

Hunch: We had a hunch that some learners have trouble sitting within the constraints of a conventional chair. We believe that if we offered alternate seating (ex. bands on legs of chair/desk, wiggle stools, standing desks, desk cycles), we would see an increase in on-task behavior and a reduction in disruptive behavior. We expected that the practice of checking in would also increase individual awareness to their on-task behavior and an understanding of when and what they are able to use to help refocus them to task when off-task.

New Professional Learning: Together we discussed the current and past research including:
-First Peoples Principles of Learning – https://firstpeoplesprinciplesoflearning.wordpress.com/
-Ananiadou, K., & Claro, M. (2009). 21st century skills and competences for new millennium learners in OECD countries http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/21st-century-skills-and-competences-for-new-millennium-learners-in-oecd-countries_218525261154
– Wiggle Worms – A Guide to Alternative Seating for the Classroom (theinspiredtreehouse.com)
Copyright © 2016 Lauren Drobnjak and Claire Heffron – The Inspired Treehouse, LLC
-Effects of a Classroom-Based Program on Physical Activity and On-Task Behavior
TAMLYN SHIELDS, and THOMAS D. RAEDEKE – Activity Promotion Laboratory
-Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J Ratey

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J Ratey was the resource that we referenced the most. The discussions with occupational therapists and physiotherapists and our teaching colleagues provided insights to the work that were doing.

Taking Action: 1) Learner Identification – Each teacher selected 2-3 learners in their class that distract others and/or had the most difficulty staying on-task. These learners included indigenous and nonindigenous learners. After the initial interview, the learners were apprised of the inquiry and given the option to participate.
2) Data collection – we collected baseline data for a two week period, without introducing any alternate seating. As we introduced each alternate seating, a two week data collection on the effects for on-task behavior ensued. Data was collected from 9:00-10:30 am each day.
3) Selecting the alternate seating – After meeting with our team, we chose therabands on chair and/or desk legs, wobble stools, standing desks and desk cycles.
4) Introducing the alternate seating – following recommendations from the resources that we read, teachers introduced one seating/standing option for a two week period of time. The target learners were required to use the option from 9:00-10:30 daily. From 10:30 until dismissal, the target learners were allowed to choose to continue using the alternate seating or a conventional chair. Data was collected and learners were interviewed at the end of each two week trial period.

Checking: Each of our teachers recorded a marked difference in the on-task behavior with the introduction of one or more of the seating alternatives. Our learners also voiced the change that they experienced. They easily choose their preferred seating and were able to express why it was their favourite. In each case, they mentioned the fact that it was easier to focus and not distract others because they could move in a small space.
We felt that there was enough change and advantages to having seating options in class, especially the wobble seats and the stand up desks.
Our learners gained experience in one-to-one interviews where they were checking in with their learning, their preferences and the changes that they experienced. With the increased opportunity for student voice and teacher feedback, they became more comfortable and insightful when answering the four questions.

Reflections/Advice: We learned:
-that our learners need choice and voice around their own comfort in the classroom, specifically with seating options
-that each learner had different preferences and it is important to have a variety of seating options
-that involving our learners in the inquiry process provides a depth that we would not have had without their voice

Plans for continuing:
-through conversations with other staff, we decided to go beyond the parameters of our pilot classes with this inquiry. Other classes began to fundraise for alternate seating in their classes. Our PAC supported the project and our district team also saw the value and offered support. We will continue to build on the options in every class in our school. Alternate seating has become part of some learner’s IEPs and student intervention plans.

-start small – begin with one seating option. Provide explicit instructions and modeling the use of it before offering it to students. Allow time for your learners to all have a chance to use the new seating. Meet with your learners one-to-one and as a group to check in with them on their experience and their learning. Track on-task behavior at each stage.

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