classroom layouts

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by KimmyBoo, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. KimmyBoo

    KimmyBoo Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2006

    Can anyone offer some suggestions for some classroom layouts that maximize cooperative learning without causing chaos? Especially for upper elementary? I have no idea how to arrange my desks.
     
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  3. etcetera83

    etcetera83 Cohort

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    Hi Kimmy! I teach 4th grade, too. At the beginning of the year, I have my desks in three rows. On each row there is a grouping of three desks side-by-side, a space, two desks side-by-side, a space, and three more desks side-by-side. I find that this provides the structure the students and I need for that early in the year, but provides the flexibility for the students to work together.

    Ex. XXX XX XXX
    XXX XX XXX
    XXX XX XXX

    Throughout the year I change the desks into a big U formation and also into small groups of five or six desks. I do this as they prove to me they can handle it.
     
  4. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    Jul 15, 2006

    i plan on doing my desks like "etcetera" suggested. although i have 27 students so my desks will be in all 3's...
    xxx xxx xxx
    xxx xxx xxx
    xxx xxx xxx

    i'm hoping this will work. being a first year teacher i haven't had the opportunity to test it out in my room. hopefully it will fit this way with my guided reading table and my desk. *sigh* we'll see. i get into my room on wednesday for the first time! i'm so excited...i even called my mommy to have her join me. lol.

    good luck with your desk decisions. switch it up after they've proved themselves...like etcetera said. ;)

    LC
     
  5. mbboss

    mbboss Rookie

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    I had a very small classroom with 28 kids in the beginning. I put them in groups of four facing each other and it worked very well. I had 5 groups of 6 which allowed a few open seats to move around as well as move someone for any needed reason.
     
  6. Steph-ernie

    Steph-ernie Groupie

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    I experimented with lots of different seating arrangements this year. My favorite was having them in two long rows. It enables me to have everyone in either the first row or the second row, and I did a lot of walking in between the two rows as I taught. I only had 17 students this year, so it worked out well. I had 9 across the front row and 8 across the second row.

    The only seating arrangment I found that I hated was a big horseshoe shape. My fourth graders, who were typically a very good group, just couldn't handle all facing each other. They only lasted in that arrangment 3 days before I got so fed up I scattered their desks all over the room.
     
  7. etcetera83

    etcetera83 Cohort

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    Steph-
    I, too, found this to be the most difficult arrangement. :eek:
     
  8. cmorris

    cmorris Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2006

    I love the U shape! It is my absolute favorite arrangement. I have to change desk arrangements periodically, and when I changed to something else, my kids begged for the U shape again.
     
  9. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    The u-shape worked wonderfully for my first class and was a horror for my second class. They were very, very different classes, though- the second was a LOT more communicative.

    I've seen a lot of teachers start out with groups and really enjoy it. Last year, I had groups in L shapes to start out, and I kept it a week before switching to groups of 4 and 5. I am going to start with groups of 4 and 5 for the first time this year- I hope it really works out.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Last year I started with big groups of 8 students arranged almost like the spokes of a wheel. It was by far my favourite arrangement, but as my class grew to over 30 students it was impossible! I always have my students in groups because I do a lot of group work. I cange my room arrangement a lot--every 3 to 4 weeks.
     
  11. 1stferg

    1stferg Comrade

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    I have always been in small rooms, except when I taught K. I use two giant E that face each other. I put 5 kids down each side to form the back of the E's. Their desks face toward the middle of the room. Then I put two kids on each arm. Their desks face the front of the room. That leaves me an aisle down the middle. If I get more kids I stick them in there somewhere. I can stretch an arm or one of the side. This is just the beginning of the year. Like MrsC I change my room around a lot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2006
  12. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

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    Jul 16, 2006

    Does anyone use tables rather than desks?
     
  13. MissAmy

    MissAmy Companion

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    Here is how mine is set up.
    I have them work in pairs instead of groups because it gets too loud. They "tutor" each other. I try to put one high student with one low student and a loud student with a quiet student.

    xx xx xx
    xx xx xx
    xx xx xx
    xx xx
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I used tables instead of desks in my grade 5 classroom a few years ago and loved it because it gave me so much flexibility. Each student had a storage bin for their books, etc., they were allowed to keep a pencil case on their table and there was a basket in the middle of the table for the belongings they needed every day. It was really successful (and no messy desks to clean out!)
     
  15. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    I used tables instead of desks, I'm the only one in my elementary school that does. I love it!!!!
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 17, 2006

    I'm the only second grade teacher with desks which allows my kiddos to learn responsibility and organization. I push the desks together in groups of 4 to make tables. Nice for cooperative learning, behaivor management (table points), class games, lining up, :) :) :)
     
  17. TeacherRW

    TeacherRW Cohort

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    Jul 17, 2006

    RE: Room Arrangement

    I start the year off usually by doing three large groups of students. After that, I move them around based on their abilities to work cooperatively. Depending on the group, I have been able to do pods all year long or have to constantly change the arrangement. My class last year was so difficult to manage as they were overly social and yet I had several students that I needed to give preferential setting to.

    This is how I start the year... kids are facing each other.
    XX XX XX
    XX XX XX
    XX XX XX
    XX XX XX

    __(Front of Room)__

    After this, we go to pods. We have themes that they name themselves after. A couple of years ago we used island names. The kids had to research the island that they were naming their group after and make a two-sided poster to hang from the ceiling. On one side of the poster, they drew a pic of the island and some interesting facts. The other side was the name of the island and additional artwork. One year I did a fruit/veggie theme. Another year we used colors: Purple Penguins, Blue Bobcats, etc. The pods are no greater in number than five and no less than three.

    **************Here's another favorite of mine**************

    XXXXXXX (Sitting side-by-side)
    X X The outside two rows are vertical to the backrow.
    XXX XXX The middle 2x desks are parallel to the backrow.
    X X
    XXX XXX
    *me*
    Alright, this arrangement is not working out here. The spaces won't stay the way I want them to. Basically this is a modified horseshoe. I have a U-shape which includes the backrow which sits parallel to my front board. The two "poles" of the U sit perdendicular to the backrow facing each other. The other desks in sets of two are in the inner part of the U/horseshoe. Those desks are parallel to the backrow and match up with the corners of the vertical desks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2006
  18. leslye

    leslye Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2006

    I do the same thing as czacza with my 4th graders and it works great! I let them come up w/a name for their group and they love it. I believe cooperative learning is very important in real-life situations outside of school and it helps to give students crucial social skills they need in order to succeed elsewhere as well.
     
  19. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2006

    Another one

    I love the horseshoe as well! I just make sure the talkers are all facing the same direction or out of each other's direct line of vision.
    I am going to try a modified version of it to start the year.

    Make three triangles of six desks each. The side triangles will have rows of desks counting 3, 2, 1 and facing toward the front center of the room. The center triangle (back a bit from the others, maybe in line with the second or third rows of the side triangles) will have rows of desks counting 1,2,3. I have never tried this before, but I think it will be very helpful in controlling the chatter. I tried to make a diagram, but the final post never looked like what I typed.


    Another set up I LOVE is to make four rows of desks with an aisle down the middle. Now turn all the desks at an angle facing inward. No one is sitting directly across from anyone else. Only desk corners need to touch if that, and it makes wandering very difficult. I save this for the end of the year. The kids hate it, but this is my favorite.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2006
  20. akbeck98

    akbeck98 Companion

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    Jul 17, 2006

    Originally Posted by Ann2006
    Does anyone use tables rather than desks?

    I use tables too! My principal asked if I wanted them and I say YES! Each year now 2 or 3 more classrooms are getting tables. I love them! Each student gets a basket and each table get a caddie to organize with pencils and pens!

    I had a few parents say, oh did they run out of desks or when are the desks coming! LOL
     
  21. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I have two groups of four and two groups of five- three groups in the front and one in the back, providing quite a bit of space in the back. :)
     
  22. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Okay, I got demented. Horribly demented. I am ravaged by the middle of the night syndrome. I... made a chart. :)

    Click on the link below the chart to see what I mean. I'll explain anything! I am in love with this arrangement. There's actually more room between the tables and areas than shown. I have a lot more room than I expected.

    [​IMG]
    http://teachingvision.org/features/20062007/msjroom.jpg

    This reminds me of classroom management in college. Yikes.

    Oh, the green lines are my windows.

    EDIT:: Oh, the orange dots and lines around the room are my lines of mobility. The big orange dots, I found by walking the room today, are great places to stop to teach. I walk a lot when I am teaching... so I had to do the lines of mobility...
     
  23. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

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    Thank you for sharing! You would have earned an A+ had you submitted this for a class! I like the idea of having a meeting table. Great place to discuss issues that pop up without having to take students into the hallway.:)
     
  24. KimmyBoo

    KimmyBoo Rookie

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    This is great, and I must say I had a nice laugh out of it... but it really is awesome.

    Moments of dementia can be great fun.
     
  25. KimmyBoo

    KimmyBoo Rookie

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    Ms J your website is awesome.... could you give me some tips?
     
  26. etcetera83

    etcetera83 Cohort

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    Great job Mrs. J! You get a gold star :) This is an awesome layout with loads of room. I really like it!
     
  27. DogLover

    DogLover Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2006

    I like your room Ms. J!
    I eventually go to the groups of four facing each other, however the first 2 weeks or so of school I like to do rows with 2 desks together until they have the procedures and rules down. This gives me time and a good feel for who to put together in groups and who I may need to separate. :)
     

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