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Seating Arrangement

Compiled By: NCPinkTchr

Looking for a new and creative way to seat your students? Check out what some other teachers are saying works for them.

classroom arrangement
Posted by: Susan/ok

After 18 years of shoving desks around in different arrangements I have finally come up with one that I love. I have given up on all desks facing the board etc. I figured this out by shoving some groups or rows of desks all the way to the wall. Some kids even face a wall or the back of a shelf. I love this arrangement because it leaves quite a bit of open floor space that can be used in many ways. So, what do they do when I am instructing? How do they see the board? They move. A few move across the room, most just turn their chairs around and scoot over some. It takes some time to practice when and how to move, but it has been worth it to me.

Classroom Arrangement
Posted by: Anna

I have my reading area in one corner, the computers in another corner, and my desk is in the middle of one of the walls. I'm lucky in that I have 2 giant white boards on opposite walls, so I can change the direction of my room easily by turning student desks around. It helps keep things interesting.

dream room
Posted by: sj

1. at least one (preferably all walls) of uninterrupted wall of floor to ceiling tack board. I had this at one school, and that wall was painted a different color from the others. I loved the floor to ceiling because it did not define or confine the space I needed for various displays.
2. storage "cubbies" about 1'square for books--so that they can be stored without bookends and still not fall over. I've never had a classroom (and we're talking decades here) that had enough room for all the books
3. shelves with doors--about 10" deep.
4. a built-in credenza with a knee-space and built-in file cabinets (at least 4 drawers)
5. drawers--7"x30x20 or about..not too deep, I don't want to have to dig in a drawer to find what I want. At least a dozen drawers this size and then 20 or so drawers just a bit bigger than a shoebox w/the little windows on front so a label can be inserted
6. windows up high, where they don't interfere with usable wall space. Walls need to be free from at least adult shoulder-height so that portable shelves, displays, etc. can be arranged in a variety of ways
7. no lockers--cubbies above coathooks are more versatile, preferably arranged so that the hanging coats &etc. aren't directly visible to the class but are also easily monitored--perhaps behind a dividing wall with exit and entrance on each end & the teacher's work area situated so that the teacher can see both the classroom and the coatroom from her credenza/desk area. The upper portion of this dividing wall on the side with the coathooks could have deep 12-15" shelving for storage of large items such as those lovely kits that come with different text adoptions, the 10' cardboard teepee, the Christmas tree, and the wonderful collection of 25 or 30 3-ring binders that most teachers have. By putting the storage space for all of this "ugly stuff" behind a wall and above the coatracks, you could hide both simultaneously.
8. A non-carpeted area around a sink/drinking fountain/painting area, but carpet over the remainder of the floor
9. No changes in floor height. I also experienced this, with step-down circular "pits" in the classroom for circle times, etc. It sounded like a great idea, and if the room had had enough floor space otherwise and the pits had been big enough to fit the 25 students in the class rather than the 17 it was designed for it may have been great, but the pit area was subtracted from the normal floor space--which created a very restricted arrangement of furniture in the room. The pit didn't allow for use of a table in the center of the group, which sometimes I want and sometimes not. So, all-in-all the pit dictated how I had to use that area--which didn't always fit the needs of the classroom.
10. Restrooms for every class, even if two classes share the restrooms between them. Much class time is lost with having to take the group to the restroom down the hall or children taking long, relaxing strolls to and from a far-away restroom.
11. A teacher's coat closet, complete with a rod for a hanger and a place for a purse and big old overstuffed teacher bag full of papers and teacher's manuals, a lunchbox, a drawer for personal items, and a full-length mirror on the back of the closet door. Oh, and lockable.
12. A place with divided shelves (much like a puzzle rack) that will fit 8x12" construction paper and 12x18" construction paper--about 1" stack of each color (at least 10 color spaces)
13. A place for storing large bulletin board items, posters, etc--preferably drawers that slide out (like many libraries have) and that are about 3" deep.
14. Magnetic whiteboard from floor to ceiling that will double as a projector screen, preferably mounted from the ceiling and secured at the base in such a manner that the choice of wall placement for the board can be changed easily.
15. Plenty of wall and floor plug outlets, all grounded, with any that are near the computer drop having 5 or six outlets to accomodate a computer's many components. A built-in shelf, retractable keyboard tray, space for printer & cpu in the teacher work area
16. One of those push-the-paper-up-into-it-to-hold-it strips on the walls just below the ceiling so that abc strips and number lines, etc that are usually semi-permanent and can be hung high can be inserted and hung without adhesives or holes from stapes or tacks
17. ceiling fan
18. Everything as versatile as possible--classrooms may change from PK to 6th from year to year, so no one arrangement should be demanded by the room. It needs as much uninterrupted wall space as possible, plenty of varied storage spaces (shelves, drawers, cubbies, etc), The color scheme needs to be pleasant but not restrictive--shades of blues and wood-tone browns work well together, and while the blue adds color it also performs as a neutral if it is not too bright. The browns help you to pretend surfaces and floors are clean longer than they really are.
19. Space to store the school supplies that we're saving until we need them--like kleenex boxes, reims of notebook/handwriting paper, folders, etc.
20. Mounted TV(for large-group viewing, so fairly large screen) up high in corner
21. Call-button/intercom to reach office in case of emergency
I love this!--can you tell?
21. telephone in teacher work area

room arrangement
Posted by: Lisa WA

I agree with the U shape idea, especially at the beginning of the year (I change my arrangement all the time, just to mix it up a little). But what I really wanted to tell you is standing in the middle of the room for 10 minutes and staring at your "chaos" is perfectly normal. This is my 7th year, and just this week I packed up my toddler and said, "Let's go to school, honey. Mommy needs to think." And I did exactly what you described, except I spent a lot more than 10 minutes thinking and staring and sketching things out on paper. I would have actually started moving stuff here and there, but the janitor said I can't yet (he's not done cleaning my room). Don't worry--you'll figure out some great arrangement that works for you! Just give yourself time!!

Seating arrangement - Fred Jones style
Posted by: Nik

I am currently reading Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones. I am intrigued by his ideas about seating arrangements. I like the idea of having a small inner circle to walk as I am cruising the room. However, I work in a middle school where the desks are all one piece. You can only sit in the desk by entering from the left. This makes it impossible to put two or three desks right next to each other. Anyone have any ideas for a similar arrangement that will work for the one piece desks? (I have attached one of Fred Jones's suggested arrangements.)

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desk arrangement
Posted by: BetsyC

I have started four years of school with my desks in groups. Others I have taught with have felt the same as your friend, so I think it is a personal choice. I always establish routine on Day 1 as far as sitting in groups. Our rule is that when I am talking you must turn to look at me no matter where I am in the room. If I am teaching at the board or overhead, students can bring their work on their clipboards to the floor if they can't see well enough from their desks. Their are times of course when it is not ideal for the children to turn and face me. For example, if we are reading aloud sentences from our English books. We also discuss the talking issue. I repeatedly remind students that if someone talks to them they should most definitely ignore that person. If the problem persists they can come to me. My students will turn cards (behavior system I used last year) when they break any of the rules I named above. I generally do not have any severe or lasting problems by beginning the year with my students in groups. Just remember that you set the tone for their behavior. Also remember that IF they just simply can't handle sitting in groups you can rearrange the desks.

So I say go for the group arrangements if that is what you want to to!

6th Seating Charts
Posted by: Janie

My 6th grade students change classes as well. Desk name tags are made for my homeroom students. I make a master seating chart showing all seating charts for each class in the arrangement at the time. A copy is posted for students;other copies are kept in my gradebook and lesson plan book. To help manage faces of who sits where, students take digital pictures of each other which I enter in Microsoft Word program to organize and print out my seating charts (simple database). All classes get to change their seating every 4 weeks. The arrangement of desks changes as the year progresses (partner desks, E shapes on both sides, small groups of 3 or 4, Gameboard shape-when we use this design, students make and design a magnet label (6 X 18) to put on the front of their desks (ex: Marty Wilkin's Real Estate, Asa Johnson's Pizza Place). Sometimes takes extra minutes to set up, but this really helps me keep students organize. I never tell them when desks change. Watching them come in looking for their desk is great fun. Looking for ideas is never ending for me and this board interaction has indeed helped organized my classroom.

I apology for being so lengthy, but I just finished another week of classes that was the greatest...I am so pumped to start the school...a bit nervous too. Anyway, we viewed a video on this guy named Ben Zander...incredible!brilliant! I am trying to find the videos to show my 6th grade. The other to look for is Rick Stiggins...engaging learning activities are fantastic...will share later. Have a great year.

seating arrangement
Posted by: Carolyn

I have tried all sorts of ways to seat kids' desks. I think your success or failure with seating arrangements depends upon the kids you teach. My group is very hyper and talkative. They also don't get along with each other very well. I have found that seating them in traditional rows works the best. We also have a weekly competition by rows for the neatest, quickest to be on task, hardest working, and quietest. I think it works very well for us. I would never consider placing my kids in tables. They'd kick each other, take each other's stuff, talk too much, and complain.

Posted by: Laurie

Hi, I usually have a seating arrangement but I use paint chips from Home Depot to help students find their seats. I will cut each paint chip in half and put half of the paint on the desk I want the child to sit (I usually put their name on the back). Then, I tape the other half of the paint chip on the black board with the students name beside it. So, the students will be sitting at the front of the room and I'll call their name out, give them paint chip from the board and they have to find the matching paint chip colour on their desk and they sit down. They seem to have fun with it.

Posted by: liketeaching1

I smile as I say that because I move my desks frequently. I prefer the small groups of four to five desks. However, sometimes I put them in two L shapes (one opposite) so that I have made an open square. That way the kids are all facing the whiteboard. I use this arrangement when I need everyone focusing on the overhead or whiteboard where I am instructing. I used this open square when I was teaching place value with manipulatives. My first graders love to copy each other and I didn't want them facing each other.

Here's a picture of my usual arrangments.

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For me in 4th...
Posted by: Krissy,

Constant change! Seriously, I move my students every couple of weeks. I use...

*individual seating, facing front; this is mainly my "testing" seating arrangement.

*"Study Buddy" seating where I place two students together and all students in rows like this:

This happens to be my favorite, because I like that students can work together with a partner often.

*"Triads" of three students

*"Teams" of 4 students or "Groups" of 6 students; I like this one too because I can put a small basket in the center of the group and a manilla folder under the basket. This way, a student pencil sharpener, scissors, etc. are stored here. Students turn their work in the folder. This cuts down on those "room-roaming" students. At the end of the day, I collect it all.

*"U-shape" seating which I use for party days and special occassions. It really allows for group sharing.

desk arranging
Posted by: Debbie

I've taught for 12 years, using many different desk arrangements. I have put kids in groups of 4 (pairs facing each other), making sure that everyone can see the board. "Extra" students can either be put on an end of a group of 4, or made into their own table, depending on the space and sociability of your group. (Try an arrangement then sit in different desks to see if the kids can actually see what you think they can.) This group of 4 works great for doing centers. During center time, they bring the center tubs to the "tables" (usually sitting in someone else's desk -- so we have our talks about respecting other's stuff). Lately, I have found my 3rd graders to be very social, so I arranged them into pairs, facing the board. During center time I tell them to move into centers and within a minute, they have moved their desks into table position and are ready to start centers. (This did take some training and practice with a stop watch, but 3rd graders adjust very quickly.) I hope this helps.

Cool desk arrangement
Posted by: Casey

This is what I did this year with desks: I sat the kids in groups of 6 (great for cooperative learning). The desks were arranged like a table, two rows of three facing each other. BUT in the middle I pulled the two desks apart and inserted another desk that was lower than the others. It was kind of like a sunk-in area. I then collected supplies and placed them in the middle for everyone in the group to use, instead of having to deal with everyone's individual items. I also had folders there for them to put their homework in in the morning, and then I could check for it at my leisure, which saved a lot of class time. It worked out great!


Classroom Arrangement
Posted by: Myia

Setting up your room can be a hard thing.. My first year which was last year I wound up changing my arrangement three times. In the beginning I recommend having your desks all facing straight ahead. You can have small groups of two or three or rows depending on your space. I would strongly suggest if you are teaching middle school that your desk be in the front. I started out having it in the back and by Christmas I had to move it to the front. I put it in the corner not directly in front of the students. I hope that helps and good luck.