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U shaped seating arrangements

(17 Posts)
TwllBach Sun 14-Oct-12 23:59:45

What do you think? I'm an NQT with a lower junior class and have always loved the idea of a u shaped seating plan. Is it a big no no in primary? No other class I can think of/have been in has it and I don't want my NQT and PPA cover to think I'm a nob any more than she does already grin

IHeartKingThistle Mon 15-Oct-12 00:04:17

I don't know about doing it in primary but you have to watch out where the door is or it's a nightmare getting them all in and out! I love it in theory too!

Euphemia Mon 15-Oct-12 10:24:20

I did it when I was an NQT and I loved it - I had a teaching table in the middle where I could stand and demonstrate something and they could all see me; I could also work there with a small group while keeping an eye on the others!

The only pain was pots of pencils falling on the floor! In the traditional "group table" set-up there's plenty of space in the middle for a basket containing pots of pencils, pens, dictionaries, whatever, whereas at single tables these were always being pushed closer and closer to the edge! We ended up keeping the baskets on the side and pupils just took the one or two things they needed to their table.

TwllBach Mon 15-Oct-12 16:55:44

Ooh see that's what I had in mind with the 'teaching table!' The pots and pens thing wouldn't be such an issue because they're in rows anyway, but I would love to have my classroom like that. I think I would have room <muses>

Part of the reason is that they are quite an enthusiastic class ad I feel like it will half the chance for chatter. My whiteboard and my IWB are intel separate walks, but I would only ever need one row to turn round. Maybe I'll try it! If I can get in early enough tomorrow morning I will brave it and do it. The cleaners will love me anyway - it'll be so much easier to Hoover!

IHeartKingThistle Mon 15-Oct-12 16:58:46

Not sure it'll halve the chance for chatter tbh! In my experience they use the opportunity to talk ACROSS the room! Works wonderfully with a class who are great at discussion though.

PropositionJoe Mon 15-Oct-12 17:00:44

Did you do it op?

bigTillyMint Mon 15-Oct-12 17:03:08

I prefer this seating plan and have used it in both mainstream primary and special primary settings - in mainstream with the teaching table in the middle. I hate group tables if I am trying to do class teaching as half of them aren't facing the whiteboard, and they chat too much grin
I don't like rows much either as some children are inevitably right at the back whereas with the U-shape they are all sort of equidistant.

Go for it!

TwllBach Mon 15-Oct-12 18:43:45

I haven't done it yet but I may well see if I'm brave enough tomorrow.

I don't like group tables either. I also have this feeling that it will make the classroom look bigger and neater - less chance of walking tables! And then I have ideas for the nice big space in the middle. We can sit there for stories, stand there for singing, use it for acting in... And I can seat them by ability. Maybe. I'm not sure about that yet though. Oh how exciting!

In other news, I'm going to have to try and be less 'nice' tomorrow <sigh>

QueenofLouisiana Mon 15-Oct-12 19:08:47

I have a U in my yr 4/5 classroom. In the middle of the U I have 6 places for small group teaching, group reading etc. I like it as it means less people right beside my pickles to piss around everyone can see the board and eachother, pretty much. The only problem is stupid boys who feel the need to dive under the tables to be first on line for assembly. I'd love to know how you get on!

TwllBach Mon 15-Oct-12 19:30:01

Oh I'm so excited grin I don't even know why I feel like its so radical.

TwllBach Mon 15-Oct-12 19:30:56

Speaking of assembly... I hate assembly. I feel so pressured to make sure we are in and orderly and I always get us stuck in a queue <sweats nervously>

Euphemia Mon 15-Oct-12 19:46:32

My stage partner was hmm when she saw my arrangement! She learned at college that Thou Shalt Sit Children in Groups of Four and anything else was STRANGE. grin

TwllBach Mon 15-Oct-12 20:15:49

Maybe I will tell them that's how people sit at university grin and then they will feel all grown up!

Euphemia Mon 15-Oct-12 20:19:22

Don't tell them people at uni wander into lessons late, drinking coffee, then piss about on their phones for an hour.

sashh Tue 16-Oct-12 07:00:36

This is common in school for Deaf children, I've also used it in FE and I find it works well.

I have no experience of primary doing this but I don't see anything wrong with it.

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 16-Oct-12 19:35:20

My DD is in year 6 and she is in U-shaped seating. It was the same for Y5, but prior to that they had tables in groups of 4. They use the space in front for -a vestigial "carpet time", even though they have outgrown this in the lofty heights of Y6.

My PGCE students always want to put my tables in a U-shape. It must be a trend. I find that it means that there is very little space around the outside and a big dead space in the middle. And I have to develop a talent for reading upside down.

Personally, I am happy to have my tables arranged in rows, and to do a two minute pushing together of tabled for a particular collaborative task. I don't like pupils not seeing the front of the class head on, so if I am doing a lot of board work, I want them in rows.

You have to ask what is the purpose of U-shaped vs rows or groups. Neither U-shaped nor rows lend themselves to group work. U-shaped vs rows means that everyone gets a direct view of the front (with some at an angle). However, U-shaped is harder to push into groups quickly, so less flexible. That is why I prefer rows.

bigTillyMint Tue 16-Oct-12 20:30:38

My DC were also in U-shapes in Y5/6. The last time I did a U-shape in mainstream was about 10 years ago, so hardly a new phenomenon!

And yes, move the tables to suit the teaching/learning method!

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