Want flexible seating but stuck with a limited classroom budget? Use these charts and have your students flip your classroom around as often as you want. My seating has been flexible for years without any special beanbags, couches, or cereal bowl chairs. For the first few years it just meant I got a serious workout between class sections, but now I let my students help me!
Simply project the seating chart you want on your wall and let students help you adjust your desks or tables. I’ve tried it two ways – having students change the desks as they arrive to however I want it for their class, or having them change them at the end of the period to whatever I need for the next class. They both work pretty well. Do whatever seems easiest for your own schedule.
Here I have included seating charts for five common arrangements I’ve used in my ELA classes.
Roundtable Discussion Seating – this is great for whole class discussions. Simply join your students by sitting in one of the desks.
Literature Circles Seating – perfect for literature circles, just have students set up circles for however many different books they are studying.
Fishbowl Seating – for fishbowl discussions, in which the inner circle discusses as the outer circle observes.
Gallery Seating – good for a range of class activities. I like to have students put their final projects and papers out on their desks in gallery seating and have students walk around the space reading and looking over each other’s final work so they have a wider authentic audience. It’s also great for watching movies or scene performances, or listening to speeches or presentations.
Group Workshop Seating – nice for small group work, writing workshop in which students are editing each other’s work, etc. Simply take over one island of seats if you’d like to run your own station and work with several students individually.
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