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Posted on September 19, 2012 9:15 pm
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Zafer Unal
Zafer Unal
Reps: 957
Classroom Organization (Seating Arrangements, Floors, Walls etc.)
Organizing your classroom is the starting point for classroom management because it is a task that all teachers face before school begins. Remember that while good room arrangement is not a guarantee of good behavior, poor planning in this area is a guarantee of misbehavior.

Arrangement of Student Desks
Generally, there are three ways for classroom arrangements. Rows, Clusters and U-Shape.

Rows:
Disadvantages:
Boring, minimum student interaction
Uncreative, Highly structured, and Traditional
Only front seats & down the middle aisles gets attention
Advantages:
Perfect for first day and test taking (Prevent cliques from forming; assert in-charge image)
Provides students their own space (great for messy art projects)
Keeps students facing forward for instruction.
Row seating does result in kids staying on task a higher percentage of the time than others.
Convenient for ESOL and ESE students who like to do things in their own way.
Yes, students need to learn to work in groups, but not all the time.
As adults, few of us work side-by-side, with our desks touching our coworkers.

Clusters:
Disadvantages
Hard to control
Advantages
Great for group work, activities
Great for Social Interaction
Promotes Cooperative Learning

U-Shape:
Disadvantages
Traffic
Advantages
Perfect for demonstration / discussion, guest speakers

Remember that choosing a desk arrangement is never set in stone.
Be flexible when it comes to desk arrangement
Try and practice arranging desks to match the activity and instructional style for that lesson
If you plan to conduct this transitioning of seating, you’ll want to practice those routines with your students.

Regardless of your classroom seating style, there are four keys to room arrangement.
1-Student View: Be certain students can easily see whole-class presentations and displays How? Do so by sitting in their seats (and slouching down to their height).
2-Easy Traffic: Keep high-traffic areas free of congestion by separating them widely How? Student desks, teacher’s desk, computer stations, group work areas, pencil sharpeners, garbage cans, water fountains…
3-Access to Materials: Keep frequently used teaching materials and student supplies readily accessible How? Surface storage on shelves (versus deep closet storage), baskets on tables, placed on your desk or special table
4-Teacher View: Be sure students can be seen easily by the teacher How? Stand in different parts of the room to be sure that you can see all of your students

Floor Space:
Teacher’s Desk
Keep your desk away from instructional area
Keep your desk private because you might have student information/data, grades, personal computer etc.

Learning Center(s)
Examples: Listening center, writing center, science center, math center, art center
It is OK, if you prefer more informal areas like an area rug, small table, special seating area.
Remember, centers require space therefore analyze the advantages and disadvantages

Computer Workstations
Location is limited since they require wall outlets
You should be able to see computer screens to scan students if they are on task
Design a schedule so that you do not end up with large number of students waiting for computers causing noise, disturbance etc.

Bookcases
Always place mostly used items (dictionaries, classroom text etc.)
Seldom used items should be in storage


Walls
In addition to chalkboard-whiteboard-smart board, you must have the followings on your classroom walls
A clock
Classroom Rules
Daily Schedule / Assignments
Message board “Welcome Back to School”, “Happy … day” etc.
A Calendar
Emergency escape routes
Others can be added (student work, decorative items etc.)


Storage Space and Supplies

Textbooks and Other Instructional materials
Identify textbooks and other instructional materials (dictionaries, magazines, newspapers, maps etc) to be used in class.
Make sure you have sufficient quantities for everyone
Rest goes in the storage

Student Work
If students have tables with enough room, place baskets (hanging binder with a folder for each student) at the center of the table.
Otherwise, please baskets around the room
If students are building portfolios, place them in a big binder a folder for each student arranged alphabetically

Others
Check any other classroom elements for appropriate place such as student belongings, TV, VCR etc.
Votes: +35 / -0 Vote Up This Article Is Useful   Vote Down This Article Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this article: 42

Kristine Morris
Kristine Morris
Reps: 153
This is useful to know which seating arrangements work in different situations.

In my classroom, I have the desks arranged in partners. This allows students to discuss with a classmate the assignments and develop a relationship with one another. I have them sitting with others they normally would not sit with to develop a classroom friendship. The disadvantages of holding my classroom in this order is I tend to develop multiple versions for different assignments (especially tests). However, sometimes I allow the numbers to be the same to allow them discussion time to help one another (usually when it is not a grade).

You're welcome!
  Posted on: December 3, 2012 9:32 pm

vaLury
vaLury
Reps: 101
I never considered the room arrangement to have such an impact on my lessons. It is clear that this is something I will need to plan for when creating my lessons. I favor the U shape but can see the benefits of row and cluster arrangements. I intend on using each arrangement when it is applicable. I am now unafraid to move desks around when the lesson or assessment can benefit from a different arrangement. Plus it allows students to a different perspective when their desk is moved. I can also continue to foster student interactions with all of their peers in the classroom which will help me to build a positive classroom community.
  Posted on: February 11, 2013 9:57 pm

MaByvu
MaByvu
Reps: 100
I never considered the disadvantages that came with the desk arrangement. I liked how you showed that and explained ways to set up the classroom to avoid problems in the classroom.
  Posted on: October 14, 2014 3:17 pm

erugyn
erugyn
Reps: 100
I have noticed that different teachers use different seating arrangements but had never considered why. This was very helpful in learning about seating arrangements and their positive and negative affects.
  Posted on: October 14, 2014 6:20 pm

ezaDyR
ezaDyR
Reps: 100
I really liked how you stated the disadvantages and advantages for each seating arrangement. In a classroom, I could imagine all of the seating arrangement possibilities, so it paints a more vivid picture in your mind.
  Posted on: October 15, 2014 9:24 pm

uLyJaj
uLyJaj
Reps: 99
Having the students desks in clusters will allow the students the ability to work together and interact. This will build their social skills, and their work ethic.
  Posted on: October 26, 2014 1:25 pm

Sydbug
Sydbug
Reps: 93
Thank you for the post, it contained a lot of great ideas. I have noticed in the past, with my daughters classrooms, the teacher are frequently changing up the configuration of the desks. I like this idea, what are your thoughts?
  Posted on: February 23, 2015 3:11 pm

Jen
Jen
Reps: 225
Great ideas al around. I guess it depends on how big your classroom space is. I have been in tiny classrooms where creativity in classroom set up is key!
  Posted on: February 24, 2015 9:14 pm

Ashley Noe
Ashley Noe
Reps: 99
I loved the advantages and disadvantages. It was interesting to really look into both sides. Great read!
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 4:33 am

Danielle Brock
Danielle Brock
Reps: 100
I enjoyed reading this idea.
I will use this in the future for sure
  Posted on: March 1, 2015 11:10 pm

upyRyX
upyRyX
Reps: 185
I found this article to be very interesting, it something that I have always wondered about!
  Posted on: March 2, 2015 1:56 am

JuMaPa
JuMaPa
Reps: 100
To the window, to the wall
  Posted on: March 2, 2015 3:00 am

unuhaj
unuhaj
Reps: 102
I enjoyed reading your breakdown of the positives and negatives of different seating arrangements. There are pros and cons to all arrangements. I feel you have to find what works for the kids in the classroom and their personalities.
  Posted on: March 10, 2015 12:16 pm

ymuTyZ
ymuTyZ
Reps: 102
My student's desks are in the u shape and it does cause a lot of traffic! I also tried clusters, but I had students that were not focusing. Rows are hard to use in small groups so I am completely out of ideas.
  Posted on: March 15, 2015 1:11 am

Akeyla Peele
Akeyla Peele
Reps: 100
I am printing this article! I found it so informative as far as the advantages and disadvantages. My school requires cooperative grouping at all times. I wish I had the flexibility to change seating when necessary. I do remember having teachers do this on a regular basis. Sometimes, I'd enter the classroom excited for what the day had in store based on the classroom set up.
  Posted on: April 3, 2015 1:44 pm

uZyvaP
uZyvaP
Reps: 204
I will print this information as well. Coming from a pre-kindergarten background, I know how effective classroom arrangement can be in cutting down on behavior problems, especially running in the class. Strategic positioning of desks and furniture can elicit the desired behavior from students without the even knowing it and make it easier for them to follow classroom rules such as no running.
  Posted on: October 4, 2015 3:02 am

Caitlyn Bogatin
Caitlyn Bogatin
Reps: 100
I like how you laid out the article. I think it's very interesting that elementary grades often put students in group set ups but in middle and high school, it is often set up in rows, not allowing for collaboration with other students.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 1:56 am

WeHypa
WeHypa
Reps: 80
I love the explanation of how important classroom layout it for behavior management and I completely agree! I have had to rearrange my classroom this year in order to deal with the addition of iPads in the classroom. I can no longer have students with their backs to the wall because this keeps me from being able to see their screens and gives them too much temptation to be off task. I also have a mix of rows, pairs and groups in my class and am constantly moving students based on behaviors or academic needs.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 9:11 pm

eSyTyt
eSyTyt
Reps: 101
I really like how you said to keep the teachers desk private from the students because it does contain personal information of all the students.
  Posted on: October 16, 2015 12:57 am

aTeRaz
aTeRaz
Reps: 201
Thank you for sharing your experiences with classroom arrangement with us, the article brought up many situations that we should take into consideration when arranging our classroom.
  Posted on: October 17, 2015 4:19 pm

yDaNyn
yDaNyn
Reps: 75
I actually just re-arranged my desks from rows back into clusters. I chose to change the desks into rows because my students were doing too much talking. I found that the rows cut down on talking, but it was very traditional. My students were able to work or talk to their "elbow partner" when given the opportunity, but it wasn't the same. I changed my tables back into clusters, hopefully I can get that family environment that I am looking for within my classroom.
  Posted on: October 18, 2015 11:43 pm

ZuTyse
ZuTyse
Reps: 9
I feel as though you make a valid point when emphasizing the need for teacher flexibility when setting up the classroom layout. As a high school teacher, I often struggle trying to balance my layout with the amount of student desks needed.
  Posted on: November 3, 2015 1:54 pm

Charity Knowles
Charity Knowles
Reps: 200
This is very useful information to have for a classroom. I didn't realize how many factors go into setting up a classroom properly.
  Posted on: February 28, 2016 5:11 pm

pytaLy
pytaLy
Reps: 89
This was very helpful. Often times teachers do not think of the advantages and disadvantages of the seating arrangements in their classrooms. However, the way we arrange our classrooms is important.
  Posted on: March 1, 2016 6:01 pm

Kady Schlemmer
Kady Schlemmer
Reps: 202
There are so many ideas in this article that I have never considered. I will be referencing this in the future!
  Posted on: July 9, 2016 6:17 pm

yDydez
yDydez
Reps: 100
I like how you give reasons why the setups will and wont work in the classroom.
  Posted on: October 4, 2016 4:52 pm

yZaHuM
yZaHuM
Reps: 100
I appreciate the list format, it makes it easier to read. Also, their were some points that were made that I never considered.
  Posted on: October 8, 2016 3:50 pm

eTytun
eTytun
Reps: 101
This was a great break down of the different ways a classroom can be organized. I do like the first point made that while this aids in good classroom behavior, as teachers our planning is what really does the trick. Being sure to accommodate your classroom and make changes when needed will help all new teachers master their classroom.
  Posted on: October 8, 2016 9:07 pm

jaDehy
jaDehy
Reps: 200
This article is very useful in how to flow and functions of the classroom operate. I appreciated the advantages and disadvantages of the different desk set ups and when you can use each.
  Posted on: October 12, 2016 5:00 pm

sazaXa
sazaXa
Reps: 200
This article is helpful in that I had never thought about seating arrangements and how they affect children. How I arrange my classroom with be dependent on my space, grade level, and students. I can also see myself moving a desks frequently as needed
  Posted on: October 12, 2016 6:53 pm

Nicole McVey
Nicole McVey
Reps: 201
Enjoyed the advantages and disadvantaged of the multiple desk arrangements that were presented. This is helpful for me and I'm sure any teacher looking to keep the classroom environment progressively different.
  Posted on: October 13, 2016 11:50 pm

uWuXyj
uWuXyj
Reps: 232
This article has been the most helpful to me so far as a future teacher, in terms of the organization of my classroom! I was never sure how I wanted my classroom set up and what could be most effective. By breaking down each part of the classroom, this article helped me understand how consistent you must be to keep students organized in different learning situations.
  Posted on: October 15, 2016 3:17 pm

nick morse
nick morse
Reps: 200
great article!
  Posted on: February 24, 2017 4:25 pm

nydyra
nydyra
Reps: 202
I have learned that U-shapes can be fun, interactive, and best for presentations. I really hope all teachers can have rooms where they can easily change form of their desks to fit the occasion. Having just one desk set up for the whole year, even if it is U-shape, can be boring for students.
  Posted on: February 25, 2017 6:02 pm

eqeJaQ
eqeJaQ
Reps: 200
This article is so helpful! Desk arrangement is so important!
  Posted on: March 1, 2017 1:12 am

beTyze
beTyze
Reps: 211
I really like this and hope to use in the future.
  Posted on: March 5, 2017 8:25 pm

Jenna Herberson
Jenna Herberson
Reps: 200
Thank you for breaking it down and explaining not only the different ways to arrange the desks and what the benefits are but the benefits of other features in the classroom.
  Posted on: March 5, 2017 8:49 pm

uReZyW
uReZyW
Reps: 101
I found this article really informative. I am not teaching yet but I have observed other teachers. I was wondering why some teachers will put their tables in different ways. It is a great idea to match the setting to what you are actually teaching. Little things like that make the difference.
  Posted on: July 10, 2017 6:59 pm

aWyVys
aWyVys
Reps: 201
A lot of teachers do not realize the importance of the physical set up of a classroom. As this article provides, the set up definitely has significant impact on the efficiency and productivity of the class and the students in it.
  Posted on: October 2, 2017 2:20 pm

azuTen
azuTen
Reps: 217
Great post!
  Posted on: October 8, 2017 6:11 pm

vugage
vugage
Reps: 201
I completely agree with your classroom management techniques. I love the ideas you have for seating, walls and floor.
  Posted on: October 9, 2017 12:55 am

zuMyJe
zuMyJe
Reps: 100
Great Post
  Posted on: October 16, 2017 3:36 am

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