With only a few summer days remaining, it’s time to start the move back into good ol’ Room H-9 and build a fresh batch of seating charts. Blog reader Suzanne asked this week how I set up my classroom, so here’s a quick look at my untraditional layout:

Oh yeah, did I mention that I just started a YouTube channel? Please “like,” comment, or subscribe over on the YouTube channel page, which helps other teachers find the video and this blog. It’s been a great summer, with so many useful comments and great ideas from readers. A HUGE thanks to those folks who take a moment to comment or submit an idea, which always adds fuel to my fire. And if you’re a reader who doesn’t want to comment, that’s cool. I understand. I know you’re out there and I hope you’re finding things here to feed your own flames, too. So thanks, everyone, for your friendship and support of our little learning community – in whatever form it takes.

With the arrival of the fall semester, I obviously won’t be able to post as often or make a lot of videos, but stay tuned – I always have something bubbling on the backburner.

Let’s go make 15-16 our best year yet. Teach on, everyone!

Join the conversation! 20 Comments

  1. Laura – I appreciate EVERYTHING that you share…THANK YOU!

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  2. Laura, I love your seating chart idea! I’m going to have my first classroom ever this year, so watching this video gave me a good perspective as to what might work better for me. Right now, my desks are in rows, so I definitely want to change it up to be more discussion-oriented. Thank you!

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  3. Congratulations, Danielle! And welcome to the other side of the desk. Anything, ANYTHING will be better than those old, boring rows. Go get ’em!
    🙂 Laura

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  4. Hi Laura,

    I just found your blog and love everything that you are sharing! Thank you so much. However I do have a question about your seating arrangement. Have you tried small groupings in your room (4-6 students in a pod)? How does this compare to what you have? It seems like your students are still in rows but instead of facing the ‘front’ of the classroom, they are facing each other.

    Thank you in advance!

    Sarah

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  5. Hey Sarah,
    Thanks for finding me! I love the pods and have seen them work really well, too. Unfortunately, my room is so tight with the 36 desks that the pod formation eats up too much floor space. I really like having the “stage” area and when I use the pods we lose that and it feels like we’re tripping over each other. We slide the desks around all of the time out of those rows of four for small group work/jigsaws/circle-reads and I can squeeze six tight groupings (amoebas?) of six desks in the room, but I’m climbing over kids to get to the other side of the room. I would LOVE a bigger room…and windows that actually open…and natural light…oh, now you got me daydreaming. 🙂

    Hope you have a great 15-16! Here we go again…

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  6. Thank you, Laura! I am starting my own room next week and I am definitely going to set it up this way! Can’t wait to read more of your great advice! Have a great 2015-2016!!!

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  7. Awesome, Connie! So glad this was useful. I’m a little shaky on this whole video blog format, but if you’ll keep reading/watching, I’ll keep writing/filming! Let’s go make 15-16 happen! 🙂

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  8. Great set-up! I love your blog and TpT resources .Do your kids complain when they have to look to the side to see the board? Do you ever have them turn their desks to take notes, watch videos, etc?

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  9. Hey Angela,
    No complaints about not being able to see the board, as it’s just a quick quarter-turn to see everything. For longer video clips and full movies, I allow kids to pull the blankets out of my cabinet of warmth and fill up the floor in the catwalk and staging space. That way, everyone’s cozy and the seating provides a full view. We’re always turning desks and moving things around, too. Gotta mix it up a bit, right? 🙂

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  10. Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful ideas, Laura! After reading your posts and buying your resources, I am excited to start the school year!

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  11. Woo-hoo, Michelle! Glad I could play a small part in helping you launch your new year. Let’s go get ’em!

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  12. Laura,
    At my school we are encouraged this year especially to keep our classroom arrangements out of traditional rows. Putting desks into groups only works for me if I expect kids to work together the majority of the time; otherwise, I find that they are more focused on each other than me or anything I am doing. I’ve also done the facing sides the way you laid out and I like that, too. I just put mine in a sort of inner/outer horseshoe formation with room that I can walk between the two U-shapes. So far so good! I might like it simply because it is a refreshing change of pace but it’s good!

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  13. Yup, Jane. Sometimes, we just need to rearrange the furniture and try something new. Liking that horseshoe idea!

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  14. GR8 concept and allows the teacher more mobility and breaks the traditional mold. I will be using this template. I see where there is a casual and friendlier appeal to the layout.

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  15. This is amazing! I’ve been teaching English in Mexico (cause I’m a Mexican girl!), for about 2 years by now…so I like trying new things and not geting so much into the system. I’m gonna try this setting for my classroom. It seems very “approachable” to me! Haha.
    God bless you and thanks for sharing!
    Btw, I really liked your mission as a blogger!

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  16. Thanks, ALoveSick! I’m so glad you found my blog and that some of these ideas will be a good match for your classroom. Hope you’re set for a great year! 🙂

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  17. Thank you, Laura! I absolutely love your ideas!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

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  18. So glad you found me, Lorie! Glad you like the blog. 🙂

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  19. I am a 7th/8th grade Social Studies teacher. I am going into my first year of teaching and I was a sub all of last year. I taught with a few different seating arrangements. I did not really like rows. The pods were effective for group projects, but I found that they were not as effective for whole class discussions or lectures. This layout seems to make a lot of sense and I will be trying it, because my room has a very odd layout. There is a white board on one end of the room and smart board on the opposite side, so this layout will help the kids be able to see both ends of the room. Thanks for this great idea!

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  20. So glad this might be a good fit for your new classroom, Michael. And congrats on the new job! You’re right, this layout should go a long way toward encouraging discussion. I also have kids slide their desks into pods two or three times a week, since those (like you said) are perfect for group work.

    Just keep moving the desks until you find a layout that feels good. Your gut will know when it’s right. 🙂

    Hope you’re having a great summer!
    Laura

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