High school desk arrangement - what do you like and why?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by eddygirl, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 27, 2012

    My colleagues and I were recently discussing how we arrange the desks in our rooms. I like what is referred to as the "bicameral" arrangement, with two sections of desks facing in toward an aisle in the center of the room. Since I tend to move within the aisle as I teach, I'm no farther than 4 seats away from any student; I also feel the layout lends itself to literature discussions.

    The only con I see is that the desks are a bit closer to each other; testing is not really an issue to me because I give multiple versions of any test.

    Most of my colleagues seem to prefer the traditional rows. What do you prefer and why? I'd love to hear some of your pros and cons.
     
  2.  
  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Mar 28, 2012

    I love the bicameral arrangement. I first encountered it when I was in high school in French class in 11th grade. It was really great... it promoted that feeling of community and, as you said, is great for discussions. The only con is that it doesn't really work for large classes.

    Another arrangement I like for small classes (5-15 students) is a circle. Great for promoting discussion.

    Once the classes hit ~20 students, it's back to rows for me.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Mar 28, 2012

    I teach math. I need every one of the 35-40 kids in my room to see the board or the screen that's in front of the room.

    With very rare exceptions, my kids are in rows. When we do the occasional group work, the desks are returned to rows at the end of the period for the next teacher in the room.
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,263
    Likes Received:
    457

    Mar 28, 2012

    It depends on what I'm teaching and what we're doing. For movies, we're in rows. When I teach speech, we're in a circle, or groups, or really any way depending on the activity. We move desks around a lot.
     
  6. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 28, 2012

    Circle. Everybody sees everybody; I have a direct line of sight to all. It facilitates discussion. (It's a squarish, oblate circle; but it's a circle nonetheless, in its essence.
     
  7. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    2,279
    Likes Received:
    108

    Mar 28, 2012

    Squared U. It's really the only way I can fit 42 desks in my room (right now I only have 38). Each row is no more than 3 deep.
     
  8. MissMatty

    MissMatty Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 28, 2012

    I have rows, but each row is spaced so only two or three desks are ever together. I need to break up groups of kids , and students in years nine and up have laptops, so I need to easily be able to see what they are doing on their laptops.
     
  9. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 28, 2012

    Partnered rows.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,560
    Likes Received:
    1,086

    Mar 28, 2012

    This is my favorite arrangement for my middle school classroom. I love that I'm never more than three seats away from any student, and I can walk in front, behind, and beside all the seats. I can also teach from both ends of my classroom. I have a SmartBoard in the back of the room, and I have my whiteboard and the podium at the front.

    I taught two years at the high school. One year I had my own classroom, and I arranged my desks that way. The other year I was a "floater", so I was in four other classrooms every day. They were all traditional straight rows facing forward. I hated it.
     
  11. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 28, 2012

    I think that sounds great for discussion!
    However, you may need to change the arrangement around if you are showing a movie, doing group work, or writing on the board.
     
  12. ChelZ

    ChelZ Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 28, 2012

    I like the "U" shape for discussion also having 2 rows facing each other w/ an aisle to stroll up and down works great.
     
  13. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 28, 2012

    Orangetea, my desks are in rows with the students' backs to the short walls. The Smartboard and whiteboard are on the long wall (opposite the window wall), so all my kids need to do is turn their heads slightly to be able to see it.

    I actually polled one of my classes today, and asked them if they preferred my bicameral set-up or the long rows in most rooms. Their answers surprised me; I thought they'd say they liked looking across the room at friends, but they actually like it because it's easy to get up if they need a Kleenex, and at dismissal time (because of the large open section in the middle) they can get out of my room more quickly to go to their next classes.
     
  14. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    53

    Apr 1, 2012

    I have split rows around a T-shaped aisle. My back 2 rows are 7 across, 2 deep. The front rows are split 5 across and 3 across. The 5-across side is 2 desks deep. The 3-across side has 3 desks and a table which seats 3. I know it sounds confusing but it works with my room size and my students. I have an aisle to move the projector, I have an aisle to walk, and I am no more than a desk away from any student at any time.
     
  15. kfrazer

    kfrazer New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 1, 2012

    I've found that I move the desks around depending on the activities that are occurring that day. A lot of times the desks will be in groups/clusters of four or five. I also tend to use the horseshoe shape a lot to promote discussion in the English class. High school students tend to work well with that arrangement.

    I don't like the traditional rows unless there is testing going on. In my lessons the traditional rows don't encourage the kinds of work I want my students to engage in.
     
  16. onestepcloser

    onestepcloser Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 4, 2012

    My desks are just in rows. I don't have my own classroom (I'm in 3 different rooms) so I have to go with whatever the main teacher who uses the room uses (unless I want to re-arrange the desks every single day... and there isn't really time to re-arrange desks before classes start, then re-arrange desks at the end, then go to the next class and do the same! :p)

    I like the rows though. Everyone can see the board/projector screen.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. futuremathsprof,
  2. waterfall,
  3. tigger88,
  4. Ankita Anil,
  5. RainStorm
Total: 556 (members: 7, guests: 523, robots: 26)
test