DEEP DIVE / Class Culture

Deep Dive: Setting Up Your Classroom

Why is setting up your classroom important?

Your classroom is truly your home away from home. It’s the place your students and you will be spending a good part of your days. Because of this, we know you want to make it as amazing as possible! You want to get your table arrangements just right, the best posters on the walls, and classroom materials clearly organized.

But you also want your classroom to reflect YOU. How can your classroom show who you are as a teacher and communicate your beliefs about teaching? That’s what we’ll be exploring over the course of this Deep Dive. Let’s get started!

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Essential Questions
Ready to learn more about setting up your classroom? Start by exploring these questions or dive into the resources further below.

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Seating Arrangements with Workstations

Fourth grade teacher Amy Spies arranges seats and materials to facilitate student learning. Amy describes how she considers the positions of her students' desks and their ability to view the front of the room when creating seating arrangements. At each group, Amy places a work station full of materials that students may need. Having materials readily available helps to cut down on transition time.

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Teach From the Walls
Fourth and fifth grade teacher Sherwanda Chism posts student work and information around the room, engaging students in learning by moving around the classroom. From books to "walk around research" (nonfiction information about units of study), Sherwanda includes a variety of information around her classroom. Students actively use these reference materials to enrich their learning.

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School as a Living Museum

Art teacher Jeff Robin shares how he has turned his school into a living museum by making student artwork public. Jeff has decorated the hallways, open spaces, and bathroom with student work. He explains how he uses symmetry, repetition, and surprise to guide his curation.

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Have questions? Sarah is here to help.

"Hi everyone, I'm Sarah. I believe that the way we use our classroom spaces can reflect what we believe about teaching and learning. I’m so excited to work with all of you to start thinking about this!"

Want to connect with Sarah about class setup? Tweet @SarahWessling and @TeachingChannel using the hashtag #layoutchallenge.

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Let’s see what we can learn from each other!

More about Sarah >

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Take a class setup resource, try it, and share what you learned!

Take it and try it 

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From Tch Laureate Crystal Morey:

“It's important to me that all students feel equally valued. The way I set up my classroom is in the shape of a circle, with an area to gather together in the center of the circularly arranged desks. By doing so, I give equal attention to students and they have equal access to instruction with an area to gather together to create unity and closeness.”

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