Room arrangement

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by DrivingPigeon, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Dec 4, 2011

    I am considering changing my classroom arrangement over winter break. This change would include a shift in the way I teach.

    My current classroom setup:
    -The desks are in a U shape.
    -There is a rug in the middle of the U.
    -In front of the rug is my chair, and an easel.
    -The Smartboard is centered in the front of the rug and desks ( it is mounted on the wall).

    I am considering doing the following:
    -Desks in rows that run the long way across the room (so students are sitting right next to one-another).
    -OR desks in two's.
    -The rug would be in the back of the classroom, along with my chair and the easel.

    I currently teach about 50% of the time with the kids gathered at the carpet, and 50% of the time with the kids at their desks. Having the easel at the front of the room is really annoying, because I am constantly moving it around. If it is up close to the carpet, where I like it to be for whole-group instruction, the kids cannot see the smartboard. I would really like if it could just stay put in one spot.

    However, if I move the rug and easel to the back of the room, I would probably do most of my instruction with the kids at their desks. I think I would be ok with this, but I am so used to doing almost everything at the carpet, since I previously taught kindergarten.

    Which grade do you teach, and where are the kids during most of the instructional time? At their desks, or gathered at a rug?
     
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  3. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Dec 4, 2011

    I'm a first grade teacher and most instruction is done on the carpet simply because no matter how well behaved the class, if I let them sit at their desks they are constantly playing with scissors, glue, sneaking and looking at their reading books, passing notes, etc.

    My preference is a classroom where the students desks are all facing the board so even if they are messing in their desks, they can always see the chalkboard from their seats which is where I stand to do some instruction.

    Since I have waaaaaaaaaaay too many students to do that this year, I have them sitting in groups of 5.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 4, 2011

    You could easily flip the U shape upside down and move the rug and easel to the back of the room. Or you could make the U into an H and still have floor space in the front of the room and floor space in the back of the room.
     
  5. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Dec 10, 2011

    I do most of my minilessons on the rug and rarely instruct them at their seats. Most of my instruction is small group so I use a teacher table.

    My classroom photos are all on my blog. I did a series on classroom set up this summer. There are a bunch of ideas on there if you are interested.

    It's funny how the New Year always makes us what to change things up a bit. :)
     
  6. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Dec 10, 2011

    I also have a u-shape for the desks and a rug in the middle of it. I love having students get up and move to the carpet (3rd grade) because we have an extended day, and any movement seems to make the day go faster. I have them move back and forth several times a day.

    Does your easel have wheels? If not, getting one that does would make it easier for you.
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Dec 10, 2011

    Thanks for the ideas, everyone!

    My brain is just spinning now. :) I like the idea I saw on Clutter-free Classroom about turning the teacher desk to face the wall. I'm not sure if it would work, due to the way my computer is hooked up, but that would free up some space for me.

    I don't have my camera with me at school right now, but maybe tomorrow I will take some pictures of the arrangement so I can show everyone what I mean about my easel. It is on wheels, but it's such a pain and I would like it to stay put.
     
  8. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Dec 10, 2011

    I tried a U shape at the beginning of school last year and my P walked into my room and said that it "wasn't conducive to learning." So I changed it, though I really want to go back to it!
     
  9. ihollywould

    ihollywould Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2011

    That's ridiculous. I will ONLY arrange my classroom in a U-shape, double U-shape, or two sets of rows that face each other. I'm a "walk and talk" type teacher and I love the Socratic method. I also think that students should be able to face their fellow students rather than the back of their heads.
     
  10. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Dec 10, 2011

    I've considered going back to it, hoping that she wouldn't remember from last year. But she's not exactly the person to "hope" with...

    She said it didn't allow students to work collaboratively in small groups. She's a fan of the 4 grouped desks, which I find boring. So right now I have my desks arranged in mini U shapes (6 desks together.) She hasn't walked into my room this year...YET, but I can't imagine she'd find anything wrong with them this way. SURELY.

    I dislike the 4 grouped desks because not all my desks fit together perfectly and that drives me INSANE!
     
  11. ihollywould

    ihollywould Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2011

    Does she think that once you choose a desk arrangement, the legs of the desks are permanently bolted to the floor? During collaborative work, all of my students have moved the desks around in a way that is comfortable and conducive to group work. But during lecture and discussion time, it's U-shape once again. Large group discussion is a giant circle so everyone can see everyone.

    I think that one classroom arrangement is not perfect for every single situation.
     
  12. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Dec 10, 2011

    I'm in first grade and mine are in the straight rows. I put mine this way because it has helped curb their talking. I had them in groups of three, for the reason that they cannot see around their offices (those foldable blinder things) in any direction to cheat.

    I move them probably once a month anyway..
     
  13. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Dec 10, 2011

    I teach 3rd grade. I have 3 large pods of desks and a carpet/library area that takes up the back third of the classroom. I teach almost everything on the carpet and they do independent and small group work at their pods or around the room. I really like the intimate setting of the carpet, and we are fortunate to have a huge one that holds all of us.

    The pods hold 6-8 kids each. I have 3 more kids who are islands just outside of the pods either by choice or because I have decided they would be more successful there. It sounds disastrous, but I am actually really pleased. Putting them close together allows for collaboration and frees up space in the classroom. My three pods have friendly competitions all the time.
     
  14. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Dec 11, 2011

    My room is set up kind of like FourSquares. I have three long desks that seat 8 students each. Then I have a rug and library area. Most of the direct teaching or modeling goes on at the rug and then individual or group work at seats or around the room. The children have teams of 4 that work to get stamps.

    I also have found it works well. It gives lots of opportunity for team work.
     
  15. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Dec 11, 2011

    I tried the pod, or group, setup at the beginning of the year (before the kids came), but it just didn't seem to work. I couldn't get the groups to go together in a way that allowed all children to see the front of the classroom.

    I am excited to play around with some of these ideas over winter break!
     
  16. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Dec 13, 2011

    I change my desk arrangement up frequently throughout the year. I teach 3rd, but we still do many activities on the carpet. We also have a rotation for special "spots" around the room (pillows, beanbags, a bench, camp chairs) that can be used for certain independent work times.

    Right now, the desks are in rows. They were in groups, but they were getting really chatty. I usually change it about once a month--I seldom just move desks, instead I usually change the whol arrangement!
     

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