Sunday, September 8, 2013

2e: organizing physical space. Creating a quiet classroom with chair footies

     Lately I have been inspired by a company called TheThirdTeacher+ and have been reading about "hacking" my classroom to meet the learning needs of my students.  Many classrooms are very noisy even when the students are quiet. They spend so much of their time in school sitting, the last thing I want to do is say "stop moving" but the screeching of the chairs and desks on the floor is unbearable especially when there is a lot of humidity in the air. So I think I found a solution online.  I am really excited about this!  We tend to move our chairs and desks quite a lot in my classroom to create different learning groups and centers. Now multiply that by 24 chairs and 24 desks. It is really loud in my classroom and nobody is to blame. The more moisture there is in the air the louder the screeching sound is.

 Some of my fellow teachers have used tennis balls on the feet of the chairs like this:
I have wanted to use them but I couldn't get over a couple problems:
1) you have to cut through the tennis ball so you can get the chair foot into it (and not cut off a finger)
2) they look pretty obnoxious
3) if I was a student I would find it very tempting to throw them around the room

So I saw this post on the blog "Art with Mr. E" where he made "chair footies" with felt and rubber bands. According to him they last the entire school year and he has only had to replace approximately 5. I had to give this a try!

I have 24 desks and 24 chairs. So that we are talking 192 feet we need to cover.
I bought around 3.5 yards of back felt at Walmart at $3.97 a yard so the felt cost me just under $15 (It was cheaper than buying a multicolor pack of felt sheets at any local craft store)

I also bought zip ties at Walmart two packages of 100 for $2.97 (I was fortunate enough to find black)

With a sharp pair of scissors (this is sharpen those scissors) I cut 384 4-inch circles (2 for each foot).

The modifications I made to Mr. E's project:
1) I bought black felt. I didn't want colorful footies because I don't really want the students to notice them. I want the footies to blend in and go away because the students are more likely to leave them alone if they don't realize they are there.

2) I used zip ties to secure them in place because rubberbands would be too easy for the students to remove.

close-up of the "footie" on an upside-down chair

It has only been a week but I have to say that my classroom is MUCH quieter with these little footies. Keep your fingers crossed and hope they last.

originally posted on


  1. Great idea! It wouldn't look as neat, but you could cut squares with rotary cutter and it would be really quick (a few at once). You could probably cut circles with one too, but that would take a bit of practice.


  2. I have used the squares in the past. Time consuming and requires two layers to last all year. Plus our custodians require teachers to cut them off. It is cute to see the fun color combinations though, especially in rooms of sports fans. I haven't tried the tennis balls, but am requesting them this year from parents like several other teachers. Seems like they last all year with no problem.