Monday, September 23, 2013

Get Comfy in the Classroom!

Students spend a great deal of time in the classroom each day.  They are usually positioned in their seats with a few movement breaks in-between.  This can become a bit monotonous which can lead to boredom with activities and a lack of interest in school in general.  To solve this problem, I use creative seating arrangements!  It adds a bit of fun to an otherwise "plain" day and if the students have great behavior, they may even get to choose where to sit!
The following are examples of seating arrangements I have used to allow for differentiated instruction:
Partner Group with Laptops
Students are able to talk quietly and to access the same websites or different ones.  This grouping allows for quiet discussion.
Triad with Paraeducator 
In this arrangement, the students are guided by an educator while leaving some time for a group-like discussion.  In this case, three boys are comfortably stretched out on the floor reading.  Yes, they can lay down...sometimes!
Triad with Moveable White Board 
This group of three girls is having fun!  One is guiding the discussion with Marzano's questioning wheels while the other two record the group's thinking.  All three are reading aloud!
 Triad with Large Rolling Whiteboard
These three boys are having a discussion about the text they are reading.  They have gathered around the board and have chosen to silently read first.  After, they will have one writer record their ideas and reasoning.

Independent at Desk
 This student is quite comfortable remaining at her desk.  She has the book on her lap and is turned away from the desk in order to stretch out her legs.  Clearly, she is enjoying reading silently!

Independent with Moveable Whiteboard
This student is reading alone as well.  He has chosen to use the large moveable whiteboard to record his thinking.  As the teacher, I document thinking by taking photographs or notes on a clipboard.  This way, the evidence of his learning is not erased along with the marker!

Partners Within a Table Group
These boys are working as partners within their table group.  The other students (which you cannot see in this picture) are working as partners on the other side of the table.  This allows for quiet discussion within a group.  After the partners complete their assignment, the two will pair up with the other two students to compare/contrast thinking.

Two Small Groups
Finally, this is the small group arrangement.  One small group is seated around a table while the other group is seated around a "table" of desks.  Small whiteboards and notebook paper are being used to record understanding.  Students must take turns listening and responding in this situation.
There are so many ways to allow students to be more comfortable in the classroom.  Sometimes, it is by integrating technology while other times, it is simply allowing them to stretch out.  Independent, partner, and group activities allow for variety of learning styles.  In the above pictures, we were doing an experiment to see how boys would work together and how girls would work together.  There were no mixed groups this day.  The students shared more and had more meaningful discussions when they were separated by gender in this case. 
Have you used a variety of groupings in your classroom?  Which worked/didn't work?  How do you infuse technology into the learning?  I'd love to have feedback and/or suggestions on how you made your classroom more comfortable!
That's it for now and as usual, if you want to chat with me even more, stop over to Leanne Baur's Creative Classroom!  Talk to you soon!


  1. I love the ideas you shared. I teach 6th grade ELA and am, at time, "afraid" to let them move the desks and work in groups lest it become a talk-a-thon. I gave it a go today and we pulled it off. Thanks for the great ideas!

    Traveling Though Sixth

    1. I am so glad to hear that! With the right management, it can be done at any age! Thanks for your feedback. :)


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