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Classroom Management: 3 Ways to Spice up Boring Seatwork

Janelle Cox

Let’s face it, sitting at your desk or seat all day long can not only be boring, but tiring as well. If you have ever observed your students after you told them that it’s time to sit quietly at your seat and do your work, you would probably notice a lot of eye-rolling and grumpy faces. You would think that by looking at a child playing with an iPad or a smartphone for hours at a time that they would be able to sit for a few hours at their seats. However, that is not the case -- doing boring seatwork is much different than being enthralled in playing a game on the latest piece of technology. Today’s teachers are always looking for new classroom management methods and ideas that will help their students work better, and be more productive in the classroom. Luckily, many educators have found a few different classroom management ways that can help spice up boring seat work and make it a little bit more bearable. Here are three specific classroom management strategies that you can try in your classroom.

Classroom Management: Get the Decide Now App

If you are looking for a new way to revolutionize how your classroom works, then you need to try the Decide Now app. There is a lite version, which you can purchase for free, or a paid version that costs 99 cents. The way it works is simple: It is a wheel of choices and you choose what you want to input onto the wheel as well as the colors for each choice that you input. If you have a Smartboard, then you can use Airserver to mirror the app so that all students can see what you are doing.

A fun way to spice up your seat work is to offer students the choice to help you decide upon what you will input onto the colors on the app. Here are a few suggestions on how to shake things up.

  • Do seat work with a flashlight.
  • Use only a chalkboard or dry erase board for seat work.
  • Work on the floor.
  • Sit on your desk or table.
  • Pick a partner to complete seat work with.

Once you have chosen your options, then before it’s time to do seatwork, randomly choose a child to come up and spin the wheel to see what exciting new way they will get to work today. It’s fun and easy, and students will love it.

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Try Classroom Stability Balls

Many teachers are finding that their students can only sit for a certain amount of time before they start getting fidgety. While this has been happening in classrooms for decades, it seems to be getting worse.

Studies have assessed students’ squirminess level and have found that by replacing traditional chairs with stability balls their students were becoming less fidgety. One study even found that more than half of the students who used the stability ball (the ones with the legs on the bottom so the ball would not roll around) were able to stay more on task.

Research has shown that using a stability ball in the classroom is an effective way to curb students who struggle with hyperactivity or paying attention. Sitting at your desk and doing seatwork for a long period of time in an uncomfortable chair will make it hard for any child to sit still. So, if you’re looking for a new way to make boring seatwork more fun, invest in a few classroom stability balls. Just make sure that they have the feet on the bottom so they won’t roll way.

Work with Music

Music has said to be an effective way to calm children down for years now. Some research has shown that studying with music can improve your capacity to learn other subjects as well as get better grades. If that is the case, then it is a great way to spice up boring seatwork. Next time it’s time for your students to do some quiet work at their seats, try putting on some classical or soft music in the background.

Any of these teaching strategies mentioned above can turn a boring day of seatwork into a better day. If you can’t afford a class set of stability balls or your school district doesn’t have the funds, then try going on Donorschooose.org and just maybe someone will be willing to purchase a few for you.

Do you have any teaching strategies that will help spice up boring seatwork in the classroom? Please feel free to leave your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.