As a highly organised person, nothing refreshes me more than reorganising my desks and my classroom layout. In my first year or two of teaching I used to change it each term. After a while I found classroom designs that work, that suit the ergonomics of the classroom and the needs of the students. Rows, U shapes, Groups, Pods, Single desks, each layout type has its pros and cons.
I’ve always been a ‘groups’ fan, and rarely utilise rows and single desks, mainly because it eats up the floor space. I love having huge areas of space for kids to move around and stretch out on the floor to work. I’ve found groups work very will younger students, but as older kids have more equipment and longer limbs, tables in groups can lead to problems.
This year I have an all boys class, and I finally have implemented a seating plan that I’ve been interested in for some time. The tables are set up around the perimeter of the room, facing the wall. There a few pods of seats that pop out in a group, but the rest are against the wall. This layout allows me to have ample floor space for boys to use, and it means we don’t have to move furniture each time we want to work in a circle, or do some dancing etc.
As well as this, no desk is owned by a student, they can choose where they work each day, even during the day. It helps that I have more desks than students too. Some prefer working on the floor with a mat, I allow that too. They can work near doors and windows, in groups, alone in corners, the opportunities are endless. It also means no one is annoying each other by kicking under the desk, and I can walk around the room, peer over everyone’s shoulder and see what they are doing.
When I have maths groups with a co-ed group I use the same layout and it works perfectly. I think I will use this layout for all senior classes in the future!