Beginning of the year - rows or groups?

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by LovetoteachPREK, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    11

    Jun 4, 2014

    OK, new first grade teacher here again. To start the school year, should I have students' desks in rows, groups or some other fashion? I'm having mixed feelings. I have a small room with lots of kids, so groups would give me a little more space. Plus, I really want that "community" feel in the room. However, it's the beginning of the year and I think that maybe rows would be better for establishing procedures and such. I don't think there is room to do a circle or semi-circle. They did not have desks in kindergarten, so this will be their first experience with them. What do you all think?
     
  2.  
  3. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,810
    Likes Received:
    190

    Jun 4, 2014

    I did like little arches for the first couple weeks. Think like one big rainbow ( actually I had 2 Like a bigger one than a smaller one) but put a walking path in middle so person in middle wouldn't have to go behind too many kids. I think we went to small groups after that... this way I could see who "could" & "couldn't" be next to each other...
     
  4. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Cohort

    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    15

    Jun 4, 2014

    I always did groups when I taught 1st grade. It made it easy when they were to work together and I liked the sense of community that it created.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,771
    Likes Received:
    1,578

    Jun 4, 2014

    I've never seen our grade 1 classes in anything other than groups or, at the very least, "sets" of 3.
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    14

    Jun 4, 2014

    I would never put 1st graders in rows!

    In any grade (K-5), the only time I use rows is during testing!
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,928
    Likes Received:
    2,063

    Jun 4, 2014

    :thumb: it's my 17th year teaching...have NEVER had rows other thn testing weeks.

    I'd definitely never do rows in grade 1.
     
  8. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    14

    Jun 4, 2014

    Oh, I will admit that sometimes a kiddo ends up on an 'island'. In other words, all by theirself. Of course, it takes a lot to 'earn' this 'privilege'. ;)
     
  9. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,592
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 4, 2014

    I always have my students in groups
     
  10. LovetoteachPREK

    LovetoteachPREK Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    11

    Jun 7, 2014

    Thanks for your replies. You validated my opinion that they should be in some type of group. I've been subbing for years, and I have seen lots of first graders in rows, so I didn't want everyone at school to think I was crazy by grouping them right away at the beginning of the year if that wasn't commonly done.
     
  11. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 9, 2014

    My entire school district which is a big one in Texas has to use groups.
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,653
    Likes Received:
    232

    Jun 9, 2014

    I had this exact problem when I started at my school! Lots of the first grade teachers use rows or some variation with rows (different formations) with the desks all connected together. Last year it was my first year of teaching, so I was very nervous to do groups because it wasn't how it was really "done." I did it anyway, no one ever said anything, and I have been very happy with it! I swear by groups - that is how I will always have my room set up. I've taught first for two years and the kids have been in groups the entire time. It's just fine.

    I have only had one island, as giraffe mentioned...but he did eventually move back to a group.
     
  13. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    14

    Jun 9, 2014

    And, to clarify myself more, I never used islands in K. In 2nd, one kiddo was on an island, but not for long. A day or two at a time. He did repeat though ;) In 3rd, one intervention was to establish space. He had a taped off area, in the corner or the room. Not my decision. In 5th, I had islands some years and not others. One particular child spent the whole year on an island.
     
  14. queenie

    queenie Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 20, 2014

    I teach 2nd and always start the year in rows- 2 or 3 desks side by side with plenty of space for me to circulate allows them to work with a partner without actually facing them when I need their attention on me or a video or PowerPoint, etc.

    After a few weeks my favorite setup is groups of 4 or 6, but this year I kept them in the side by side setup all year and behavior was excellent! (So was partner participation btw)

    I would never start the year in face to face pods. They need to demonstrate that they can handle it first. It's too hard to pull the reigns back in once you let them go and as teachers we often make excuses at the beginning of the year- it's only the first day/week/month of school etc.
     
  15. mina

    mina New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2014

    I have put desks in groups of 6 or 4. This way they can do
    group activities and pair up in partners. I do move students around as needed.
     
  16. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 29, 2014

    I usually start the year with the desks in a U shape. That way they can see each other and have good discussion, but they are all facing me and the board/screen. After I get to know them (and who will work well together) I move them into groups.
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,775
    Likes Received:
    151

    Jun 29, 2014

    Groups for sure!
     
  18. time out

    time out Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 29, 2014

    I've taught first grade for 9 years and I think I've always started in groups. The kiddos are really nervous when they first come to you so they're not likely to socialize.

    For procedures, I recommend teaching a lot of them with the kids on the carpet so that they can focus. And do a lot of role playing.
     
  19. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    2,978
    Likes Received:
    408

    Jun 29, 2014

    Probably not rows, but possibly arranged so that all or nearly all students can face the front of the room easily. I make sure that no students are sitting in a desk where their back is to the front of the room that first week.
     
  20. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 5, 2014

    I agree with all those who suggested tables.

    Also, if you want to go over classroom procedures it would probably be easiest if you have them in the seating arrangement you plan on having for the whole year.
     
  21. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 6, 2014

    Personally I love rows because it forces each child to always be facing front, but then the kids push their desks closer and closer to the person behind them until that person can't get out and whenever you want to do partner work, it's difficult if you have an odd number of kids.

    So I do groups. I've got (pretty) good class management skills, so I only end up changing group a couple times a year, and usually it's just to separate certain kids from others, not completing moving everybody to a new seat.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ready2learn,
  2. miss-m,
  3. futuremathsprof,
  4. Ms.Holyoke,
  5. Kiki319,
  6. SaraFirst,
  7. Preschool0929
Total: 446 (members: 8, guests: 405, robots: 33)
test