Flexible Seating by Kathleen Hartsell, Spring Branch Education Foundation verified non-profit

This Cause Has Ended
Launched Jan 17, 2017
Ends Apr 04, 2017
This Cause Has Ended
Category: Health & Athletics
Class Size: 20
Grade: 1st 

Imagine a classroom where students walk in with the freedom to choose where they will work each day, based on their own needs. I firmly believe in the power of choice, even with our youngest learners.  The more choice students have, the more they will feel invested and responsible for their learning.  I have tested this theory in my classroom during our "Read to Self" time, where students choose any spot in the classroom where they can read quietly and comfortably.  I currently have yoga mats, pillows, reading buddies (stuffed animals), and a few small chairs readily accessible for students.  Here’s a video of what this has looked like in my classroom.  It has been quite a transformation.

I want to take this idea to the next level by transforming my classroom into a flexible seating environment.

Research has shown that flexible seating (balance balls, wobble chairs, soft seats, motion stools, etc.) leads to more focused behavior and engaged student learning. Through the use of flexible seating, my students will have opportunities to understand their own body signals and select the seating option they feel will be most beneficial to them to better support their learning.  I am looking to obtain 15-20 flexible seating options, so that every child may freely choose an option each day.  The seating types vary in price, from $10 for a soft seat to $109 for a hokki motion stool.  The Gaiam Kids Stay-N-Play Balance Balls ($20) are known to help increase focus by keeping the body actively in motion while children are working.  I currently have a small table with some cushions on the floor, which could also be used as a flexible seating location for students to work.  

Here are a few articles to better understand the flexible seating movement:

Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment That Students Need

Why the 21st Century Classrooms May Remind You of Starbucks

I teach at a bilingual low-income school, which poses many challenges for my students both in and out of the classroom. Many of them are raised in single parent apartments and receive a free lunch based on their socioeconomic status.  Several of them don't have the freedom to participate in extracurricular activities and sports outside of school.  While I can't control what happens outside of the classroom, my goal is to keep my students safe, comfortable, and productive in my classroom. I strongly believe students become more engaged and retain more information when they are able to make a choice of the best working environment for them. Flexible seating options will help my students by promoting positive choice, helping to release extra energy, and increasing blood flow to their brains.

If we do not meet our goal...

I will still use the funds to invest in flexible seating options for my classroom.  I will continue fundraising and apply for any available grants within my district.

Suggested Investments


Inflated Stability Wobble Cushions

Used as a wiggle seat to provide sensory input, and to help calm children that have a hard time sitting still.
Invest $50


Gaiam Kids Balance Balls

Balance Balls encourage kids to learn and practice healthy posture while benefiting from active sitting.
Invest $250


Kids Kore Wobble Chairs

Wobble Chairs provide an outlet for restlessness and extra energy, and keep kids active while seated.
Invest $300


Hokki Motion Stools

Motion Stools help children who need to be able to move while sitting. They help kids stay seated and focus more on learning and completing their assignments.
Invest $300

Kathleen Hartsell

1st Grade Teacher, Spring Branch Education Foundation

I am a passionate 1st grade teacher at a Title I school in Houston, TX. I strive to find new and innovative ways to keep my students focused and engaged in their learning.

Spring Branch Education Foundation View All Causes

Houston, Texas

The Spring Branch Education Foundation is committed to helping Spring Branch ISD realize its mission: to provide every student a quality education in a safe environment. Who is the Spring Branch Education Foundation?
The Spring Branch Education Foundation was founded in 1993 to create voluntary financial support for Spring Branch ISD and to support its mission of quality education. The Foundation provides donors with a vehicle for making approved, tax-deductible gifts to SBISD. In 20 years, the Foundation has raised over $8,000,000, and has received a Houston Business Promise Award from the Greater Houston Partnership.

Fundraising Goal Complete!!!!

April 5, 2017

THANK YOU to all of my wonderful investors who have helped bring this project to life.  I could not have done this without you!  I really appreciate all of your support and encouragement.  I will be sure to post updates and pictures in the next few weeks when the new seats arrive!!  Stay tuned.




Kathleen Hartsell x 2
Lindsay Howard
Miren Crawford
Caroline Blowers
Taylor Cox
Eleni Barkulis
Magee Kennedy
Elizabeth Crawford
Beth Greene
Jessica Bjorlo
Meghan Khurana
Nellie Hartsell
Kaleana Markley
Nancy Sexton
Carol Binkley
Dan DeWeerd
Ashley Chavez
Angie Pietrini
Hannah Johnson
Nick Lejarcegui
Donna Johnson

Andrew, Ami, & Jimmy January 29, 2017

Way to go, sis! We're so proud of you. You're students are so lucky to have such a dedicated teacher. Love you!

Caroline January 24, 2017

Way to go, Kathleen!

Miren Crawford January 24, 2017

Way to go, Kathleen - proud of you!

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