What's your favorite desk/seating arrangement for high school?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Lindsay.Lou, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Feb 13, 2009

    I teach 9th and 12th grade and I've had my class in groups ("islands" of 4 desks) since September. It works really really well in my 9th grade classes because I don't do a lot of straight lecturing and they do a ton of group work.

    However, it's a nightmare in my 12th grade classes because 1/2 of them have their backs to me and I feel like the group setting just creates an atmosphere that's too sociable/laid back for the seniors.

    I'm thinking of the good ol' horseshoe.

    Those of you that teach high school, what's your favorite?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2009

    I teach math.

    My kids are in rows. Everyone can see the board, and it cuts down on chatting.
     
  4. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    I teach in groups of 4s. They are facing each other, so everyone can see the board, but really I don't use the board that much :) I use a lot of cooperative structures. The kids are allowed to move their desks if they need to when we do use the board but most have no problem seeing, they just turn their heads.
     
  5. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I have 9th and 10th..right now they are in rows, because over Christmas Break the floors were cleaned and the desks were moved by the janitorial staff into rows..I've been too lazy to change. I also use a setup where I divide the desks into two groups and they face toward the middle, facing each other with a walkway down the center. This allows them to look at the front and back wall, both contain boards. Though I typically use the front wall which has a SmartBoard. Group setting don't work-they like to chit chat and its really bad for tests-eyes like to wander.
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I use the horseshoe - really a squared U. It's about the only way I can fit 42 desks into my room.
     
  7. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    We use the horseshoe for our 10th grade special ed. biology class. It seems to work well.
     
  8. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Most of the veteran teachers at my school use the horseshoe....this should tell me something I think....:whistle:
     
  9. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I'd like to use that..but I don't think it would work. Our desks you can only get in one way.
     
  10. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    I guess I'm just dumb... but in the horseshoe, do the desks all face forward to the board, or towards the inside of the horseshoe? And is your desk at the "bottom" of the horseshoe?
     
  11. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    In mine, all three sides face the center of the room, with the open end facing the board.
     
  12. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    For how I would do it, the "opening" of the horseshoe would face the board. My desk is in the back of the room, but I would have a podium for myself at the opening of the horseshoe.
     
  13. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Instead of desks I have tables and it can be annoying in my large classes. It's very easy to get chatty, and no matter how I turn the desks, some kids will always have their backs to me. If I had desks I think I would do the horseshoe. One benefit of the tables is that it does lend itself well to group work opportunities.
     
  14. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Over the years, I've had many different sized classrooms and so I've tried TONS of arrangements. I had "clusters" of desks together --> hated it; I like to see all my student's faces when talking. I've done simple rows. I've done the horseshoe, but with the new desks, the chairs are connected to the desk so it makes it hard to maneuver nicely. Currently, I have rows of desks that come slanted (angled) from the wall. The first row has two desks, the next has three, the next has row, etc. This is on both sides of my room. I also have a horizontal row of three desks in the back, middle. I LOVE this set up. I like having a lot of room in the middle of the class as I do a lot in class debates that require room. Also, it allows EVERY student to see the board, which is of course, is necessary as I use the board a lot for things.
     
  15. mandagap06

    mandagap06 Devotee

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    As a student I liked the horseshoes. I felt like it was a smaller class but with a bigger room. I was able to see the teacher better and felt more a part of the class and we could all have open discussion better I felt. Some of the kids who did not want to answer or that did not care about school hated it!!
     
  16. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Here's a confession: I RELISH the idea of seeing these students' faces when they come into school monday and see the new horseshoe!!! They will indeed be unhappy. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I run the horseshoe in 2 rows. It works really well for me.

    I have Alg I and II with everything from freshmen to seniors. My largest class is 30 (with no TA). I also use a CPS chalkboard so I can be running the presentation from anywhere in the room. If I have talking or other problems, I just stand beside them while I running my presentation.
     
  18. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    My kids start out in rows, but many times we end up in groups, a cricle, or a horse shoe. We only stay in rows when we are watching a movie, taking a test, or I am lecturing.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 15, 2009

    I like the horseshoe, but I have too many desks to do it this year! :(

    I've had desks in a "face off" arrangement. Desks all face the center of the room. They are in 6 or 8 short rows of 3 or 4. This works well because I can pace up and down the aisle as I'm talking, and no student is ever all that far away from me or hidden away in the corner where they can sleep or be sneaky. No one has their back to me--the aisle opens up at the board, making a T shape.

    I've been doing the islands thing, with 5 desks in each island. Two desks face two other desks, and then the 5th one is placed at the head of the group, facing the board. All the islands are "open" to the board, so no one has their back to me (everyone except the person at the head of the group is facing sideways).

    Right now they're in rows facing the front because I've been noticing a fair bit of cheating/copying. I'm not going to facilitate that behavior by keeping them in groups. When they straighten up, they'll move back to islands or the face off.
     
  20. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    Feb 19, 2009

    Due to the # of desks I have, I would also need to do two horshoes (a smaller one within a bigger one). I think an advantage of this would be to "trap" (for lack of a better word!!!) the chronic movers in their seats. I have a few students who are just constantly getting out of their seats to chit chat and fool around. I think if I put them in the dead center of the inner horshoe, it would make it more difficult for them to get out of their seat b/c they'd have to ask 5 students to push themselves in to let them out.

    Being in "islands" (tables) has facilitated way too much freedom of movement. I always plan at least one activity that allows students to get out of their seats and walk around a bit, but there are certain times I just NEED everyone in their seats.
     
  21. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    My kids who like to get out of their seats still try it in the horshoe arrangement. The only way I have found to fix that is to be a bit of a jerk about it and crack the whip on them (which is very atypical of my management style.)

    Since we're in the middle of the school year, I'd suggest a beginning of class announcement of how you will deal with it from here forward (e.g. "the rules are changing folks, here's your only warning") and plan to have some test the limits. Snap down and make an example each time it happens. It will stop, but you have to be serious and very consistent.

    As for how to respond, I'm very fortunate to have a great vice principle who will back me to the hilt. I give him a heads up when I'm doing something like this and he always has good suggestions for the details.
     
  22. Southernese

    Southernese Rookie

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    Mine are in rows. Simple, yet effective. This way, when I say "Turn around. Face forward!" they know exactly what I mean.
     
  23. azure

    azure Companion

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    Rows!! Too much cheating and hands/feet problems when they're right next to each other. You're inviting trouble.
     

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