Setting up your classroom! By: Miss. Eva Pottruck
Why is the set-up important? • Classroom setup can dramatically affect students' attitudes toward and habits of learning. • Students need an environment that is organized, stimulating, and comfortable in order to learn effectively. • Creating such an environment entails arranging a practical physical layout, supplying diverse materials and supplies, and encouraging students to have a sense of belonging and ownership.
Basic principles of seating patterns • Distance-decay - pupils towards the back are less likely to participate and more likely to chat (T-model). • Rows reduce interaction. • Children are creatures of habit, and will try to sit in the same place with the same people. • Some children are isolated by their peers - clever seating arrangements can help to reduce the impact of this. • Consider moving pupils away from tables for some activities - with nothing to lean on pupils may be more attentive and involved. • Have a seating plan to help you learn some names - it will also help you to have one form of control and then you can be flexible about seating arrangements to reward good behavior. • Re-arrange seating to help manage behavior.
U- Style (Horseshoe) Benefits • Great for getting around the class and amongst your pupils. • Good visibility for pupils. • A standard pattern so pupils won’t worry about finding seats. • Traditional and business like. Drawbacks • Rowdy classes will communicate with each other across the room. • Not very conducive to group work. • Those sat at the front ends are facing the board at an angle.
V-Style Benefits • Great for visibility. • Great for teacher / pupil contact. • Less formal than the U-shape. Drawbacks • Takes up loads of space – best with a small group. • Not ideal for group work.
Herringbone Style Benefits • Works well with a large classroom, as long as it’s not too narrow. • Good visibility for all pupils. • Teacher can walk up and down the spine. • All pupils are facing the front, which is good for ‘chalk and talk’ teaching styles. • Those at the edges are less isolated than if straight rows are used. • Easy to join desks together for group work sessions. Drawbacks • Back row brigade! Need we say more? • Harder for the teacher to move along the rows. • Favored by the ‘strict and scary’ teachers?
Café Style (Groupings) Benefits • Great for group work. • Informal – encourages pupils to participate in discussion. • Easy for the teacher to circulate. Drawbacks • Some pupils will have poor visibility and may even have their backs to you. • Lack of attention and chatting can be a problem – harder to control behavior. • Encourages pupils to sit in friendship groups, which doesn’t always help create the ability or social mix that you need.
Circle Style Benefits • Encourages everyone to get involved. • Great for debates and discussions. • Lots of teacher and pupil contact. • Friendship groups less obvious. • No barrier between teacher and students – teacher can use their body kinesthetically. Drawbacks • Not easy to set up with rectangular tables • There may be a scramble for seats and momentary disorder as pupils face an unexpected seating pattern. • You’ll probably have to move the furniture before and after the activity.
Lecture Style Benefits • Good visibility and acoustics for all. • Space-effective. • Good for traditional teaching styles. Drawbacks • Difficult to have personal contact with all pupils. • If you bend over to help someone, your bottom is presented to the row behind you. • Restricted views for the back row.
Importance of seating patterns In an ideal word, seating should be frequently re-arranged to meet the needs of: • Behavior • Ability • Task • Time of day • Size of group
Arranging the Learning Centers • Keep computers facing away from windows to keep glare from sunlight off the screens. • Use bookshelves to isolate different areas. • Provide comfortable seating. • Save space by using walls for posters, display shelves, books, and supplies. • Build a loft to save space while creating a private spot for independent reading. • Separate learning centers of high activity, such as the cross-curricular center, from areas like the Reading/Language Arts Center, where students need quiet. • Set aside an area to meet with small groups. Allow enough seating for about eight students.
Tips to Keep in Mind • Make sure that all students will have an unrestricted view of the chalkboard. • Keep the classroom jobs in an area where everyone can see them. • Your desk should be out of the way, but in an area where you can view the entire classroom. Set aside an off-limits zone for your records and supplies. • Try to separate the students who have behavioral issues.
Practice Being a Classroom Architect! http://classroom.4teachers.org/
Resources • http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/res/classroom.html • http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/classroom-seating-patterns-22 • www.4teachers.org • All images used in this presentation were found through Google Image Search.
Activity Time! • Work with the people around you (partners or small groups). • Using large sheets of paper and markers, create your own classroom. • Make sure you select the seating arrangement that you think will work best for your class. • Keep in mind the tips we talked about! • Present your setup to the class when you are done.