Sunday, April 12, 2015

No Assigned Seats?! - The Setup

I started Spring Break feeling excited about not needing to work in my classroom much and actually giving myself a break...but the longer I was home the more Pinteresting I did, and the more Pinteresting I did, the more I wanted to get back into my room!  It didn't take long before I decided that I was bored with assigned seats.  I loved my most recent desk setup, but having assigned seats just wasn't catering to the kind of learning I want to see in my classroom.  In my searching for something that felt right I came across two blogs (linked below) that were very inspiring but left me thinking my room wasn't big enough but that it was still something I wanted to try.

In making my first move toward creating this new setup, I discovered that I did have enough space in my classroom, I just had too much unnecessary furniture!  Relocating some extra furniture led me to a classroom that seemed bigger than it was when I moved into it last summer.

My main goal in changing my classroom setup was to create work spaces for my students and provide them with opportunities to choose where they wanted to work.  I kept enough desks for every student to have desk space if they needed/wanted it, but also created different areas for my students to work so they don't feel confined to their one desk.
  • None of the desks are assigned. 
  • I lowered a few tables so I now have some that are low enough for students to sit on the floor but still have a table to write on. 
  • Another small desk I have is now more accessible and students can use it without asking.
  • There is more space for students to sit on the floor and clipboards are even more accessible now than they used to be.
  • The bean bag chairs are open for use at all times and students no longer have to ask to use them.
Realistically, my students will be able to sit anywhere they want to in my classroom during work time.

I also let go of the idea that no student should have their back to the front of the classroom.  I don't want my classroom to be teacher centered, I want it to be student centered, and everyone facing the board is not promoting that.  And when I really think about it, I walk around while I teach so there's no reason to have an entire desk setup that caters to everyone facing forward at all times.  Yes, there are times where I need everyone's eyes on me and the board (direct instruction, etc.).  In those times, my students who are not facing forward know to turn their chair around and grab a clipboard (if they need to write).

Here's what it looks like now!

From the "front" of my room
From the back corner
From the front corner: class library on left
From other back corner: round table moveable workspace on left
Bookshelves across back of classroom
Wow, this is one of those times where I'm trying to write something I'm so excited about that my mind is jumping all over the place!  No assigned seats means no rat's nests inside our desks!!  But that also means...where in the world will we put our rat's nests?!  For the last few years my mom has used bookshelves like these in her classroom: each table group had their own bookshelf at their group to keep their supplies on.  One of the blogs I came across (Setting Up for Second) also utilized bookshelves but used them in the back of her room instead.  I love how neat and organized they look in the back of my room!  Although my students won't have the insides of their desks anymore, the bookshelves will allow an even more organized way for my students to keep their supplies and avoid rat's nests!

It's incredible what you can create when you let go of what a classroom is "supposed" to look like!

I am so looking forward to kicking off the last 10 weeks of our school year together with this huge change!  It is going to take practice for us to really get it all smoothed out, but I'm excited and I KNOW they have it in them to succeed!

Next post?  No Assigned Seats?! - With Students!

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