If you could have the perfect seating arrangement, what would it be? You should give this some thought as it makes a huge difference in the classroom dynamic.
Actually, there is no such thing as one perfect seating arrangement. It depends on the shape and size of your classroom, but here are some considerations:
1) Good flow, so you can walk quickly and easily around the room. You don’t want to bump into furniture as you move. You want to be able to walk around and confer with kids as they work, and at the same time scan the room to check that other kids are working on task. Good flow is good discipline!
2) Many teachers like to arrange desks in clusters for group work and cooperative learning. Remember, the groups may be flexible, so kids’ seats may change during the day for different activities. A typical cluster has six children; three on each side of a square table group.
3) All seats should have a view of the whiteboard. This way, kids can refer to the mini-lesson chart as they write or work on a project or manipulatives. It doesn’t mean all seats must face the same way. It just means kids should be able to see the full board once they’ve returned to their seats from the meeting area.
4) Boy-girl seating is a smart choice. It’s a fact: sitting kids next to their best friend of the same gender is a recipe for off-task talk and antics. So try seating the first table boy-girl-boy, and the next table girl-boy-girl.
5) Kids with special needs:
a. Difficulty with focus – Keep these kids close to the meeting area or the teacher's desk, at the corners of table clusters, and spread out around the room, not all at the same table, and not next to each other.
b. English Language Learners – Keep these kids close to an English-speaking buddy who can help demonstrate the class work. You might seat ELLs in the middle of a line of three kids.
Seating arrangements in the classroom should be on your radar starting well before the children arrive. You should tweak and adjust as necessary when you meet the actual children, till it all feels just right.
For more tips on seating arrangements in the classroom you might want to study my Teacher’s Kit for Kindergarten Teachers. You’ll find tons of thoughtful ideas on setting up your kindergarten class, as well as thorough teacher scripts, step-by-step guides to teaching rules, posters, printables, and more.