I've set up my classroom so that I have 4 groups of 5 desks. However, all the other grade one teachers at my school have set up 5 groups of 4 desks. What do you think is the optimal students working in a group?

I think it depends on how much open space you want in your room and how well your class works in groups. If you are worried about the kid stuck on the end by himself, make the end kids table captains. It makes it kind of special to be on the end. And rotate who sits on the end every so often so that everyone gets a chance to be table captain some time throughout the year.

If they are really going to work "as a group" I suggest the five groups of four. Groups over four seem to spontaneously combust, imo

My class works at tables. Last year I had 21, so there were 5 people at each table (one table with 6). They didn't actually work in groups. They did their own work. They were able to quietly talk tot he people at their table about their work (we modeled this heavily) but they weren't doing group projects there. When they actually worked in groups, they usually found a spot in the room to work in a circle knee-to-knee or whatever. Sometimes they worked in groups at the tables, but rarely was it with the people that sat at their table. I switched groups up a lot and did not go by seating arrangement for group work.

I would do 5 groups of 4 for a couple of reasons. First of all, each student would have a partner. Secondly, the less students in a group would lower the noise level. I don't mind when students talk during certain activities, but I don't like the noise level so loud. Last year I did this and it made a huge difference from the previous year.

I would try to keep at even numbers if possible. That way they can work as a "table" or pair up easily with a buddy. I do have two tables (arranged desks) of 5 and two tables of 4 but I am thinking I will make one table of 6 on Tuesday and have 3 tables of 4. The 6 person table will be near me.

Thanks for all your replies. I didn't think about the kid at the end being by himself. Also, if I have groups of 4, each student would automatically have a partner. I think I'll rearrange it all on Tuesday morning before the kids come in. Thanks for your feedback.

I don't think it is a huge deal if someone is on an end and in my room that person faces the front of the room directly. They seem to like having ends. I just think it is easier for classroom management to have the number even. Towards the end of last year I had my desks in one giant U. The kids loved it but it wasn't good for any type of group work.