Norfolk’s teacher of the year shakes up classroom by replacing traditional seating

By: Ellen IcePosted at 3:27 PM, Jan 07, 2022 and last updated 5:41 PM, Jan 07, 2022

NORFOLK, Va. – A Norfolk first grade teacher is shaking up the classroom by replacing regular tables and chairs with something called “dynamic seating.”

Sabrina Wahid, a teacher at Richard Bowling Elementary School, said she came up with the idea to have movement in the classroom by thinking about her own experience as a student. She said she remembers being required to sit still, which doesn’t work for all students.

Dynamic seating is any alteration to the traditional seat that allows students to move.

Sabrina Wahid, NPS 2021 Teacher of the Year

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“Students who cannot sit still – that may be viewed as misbehavior when really they need a way to release their energy,” Wahid said.

Wahid said she went through a site called to request specialized seating for her classroom. She said she was thrilled when donors stepped up in a big way.

“We have bike desks where it’s a bike underneath but has a traditional tabletop; we have kneel and twist tables where students sit on their knees and they can twist back and forth,” Wahid said. “We have ball chairs, various wobble stools. I have an elliptical under my desk; we have a trampoline.”

Wahid said she has an inclusion classroom, meaning students with learning disabilities learn alongside their other peers.

“I have students with autism, with ADHD, and they really benefit from dynamic seating,” Wahid said.

She said she’s seen a decrease in behavior issues and an increase in engagement across all of her students.

“I see an excitement for students actually doing their work, because if they want to use the seating, they have to be doing their work the entire time, so they are definitely motivated,” Wahid said.

Wahid won Norfolk Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year for 2021. She has been with Richard Bowling Elementary School for three years.

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