Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Teacher Tip: Classroom Set-Up

In less than a month, we'll be back to school! While I love my summers off, I really enjoy my job, and it's so much better for me to be busy with work than sitting on the couch watching Bravo reality shows on a loop.

I am currently a 6th grade social studies teacher, and I'm always up for learning some new tricks from my fellow teachers, so please feel free to leave me suggestions, questions, or comments below! I'd love your input!

One way that my classroom is unique from many other classrooms is the arrangement.

This is from my first year at my current campus for the first day in  homeroom. The front tables are for 2 students and then myself. It doesn't usually have all of those materials!

This will be the 5th year of me using this double horseshoe seating arrangement. I was first inspired to seat my students in horseshoes when I attended a conference with the Texas Law Related Education Organization. If you teach any level of social studies in any state, click over to their site as soon as you're done here- the LRE has AMAZING resources, games, lessons, and more!

I teach about 22 - 30 students per class period, and I feel like this double horseshoe has worked well with my middle grade students. I know a lot of teachers love tables, but I'm a pretty strict teacher (The kids lovingly refer to me as "Supreme Dictator Lee!"), and I feel like tables just invite issues with tweens. The horseshoes help with passing out supplies, collecting papers, and allow for students to turn and talk with neighbors to the left, right, front, or back of them. This set-up also helps me to maneuver the classroom and get to students easily.

Here's an example of my seating chart. These are fictionalized names.  

I keep my seating charts on a PowerPoint chart so I can type in names and move them around easily for the next nine weeks. It also is easy to print out to have on hand for my sub folder.

The first thing I do each school year is review all of my special education paperwork. Students with paperwork will be placed appropriately on my chart first. Then, as I fill in the chart, I try to keep the kids grouped by girls and boys, as I feel middle schoolers usually feel a bit more comfortable with same-sex peers. (This is not true for EVERY student, but it's a good starting point in my particular classes.) 

In the above example, you'll notice the whole back row is girls. This is just the way that class period turned out in terms of boys vs. girls. I try to move kids to different sides of the room and mix up who is closer each nine weeks (or as various needs arise). 

The front table seats two students. This is NOT a punishment table. In fact, many of my kids fight, beg, and plead to sit at the table. I guess they feel like they're closer to the action as I like to pass out papers from the front table, and I'll sit there from time to time if we're reading aloud. 

I keep a table to the left of the door with class period buckets to turn in assignments and another table to the right of the door to keep our class set of textbooks. We keep notebooks on bookshelves in the back left corner of the room, and then my students' (and my) favorite part of the classroom is the library table that I keep for the kids over on the right side of the room. I'll tell you more about that another time!

So tell me- how is your classroom set-up? What works best for you and your students? Enjoy your last few weeks of summer, teachers! 

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Hi friends! Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from you!