Madison City Schools credits unconventional seating to increased student interest in class, attention spans

MADISON, Ala. - Mill Creek Elementary teachers bounced around the idea of unconventional seating within their classrooms. So, far the students said it's a hit.

"Those desks are a little uncomfortable and this chair is more comfortable," Student Carter Matherne said while sitting in his soft blue chair in one of the school's second grade classrooms.

"I can just get my energy out," Camryn Waldrop said while bouncing on a yoga ball.

Madison City Schools' teachers adjusted their classroom seating charts with alternative chairs.

"I can just sit here, and bounce, and think about it instead of just sit there and think about it," Waldrop said about how this seating helps here. "Because it actually is more fun and better doing that."

Waldrop also said it has improved her classmates' behavior in the classroom.

"I remember the first day of school, some people weren't acting very good," Waldrop said. "When my teacher said we were going to get bouncy ball chairs, I knew they were going to be better.

Though teachers cannot necessarily tie the unconventional seating to better test scores, the results make them wonder. They recently received the scores on the ACT Aspire Tests which is administered to third through eighth graders and 10th graders. The district's elementary students placed in the top five in the state for math and reading this year.

"My motto is kids are gonna learn if they're comfortable," Third Grade Teacher Jill Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe said the chairs are helping her students grow in multiple ways within the classroom.

"They're not as antsy, they're not as fidgety," Bledsoe said. "They can go lay down on their stomach if they need to do their work."

The chairs give students options which in turn create an optimistic atmosphere at Mill Creek Elementary.

"They have a sense of ownership because they get to choose where they sit," Bledsoe said.