Thursday, January 24, 2013

Arranging a room for #flipclass

I finally remembered to take some pictures (and a short video + aerial view at the bottom) of my classroom so you could see the layout of how I have it organized.  

I am VERY happy with the layout this year and the changes I made from last year until now (plus, some awesome new acquisitions in the form of tables and computers helped a bit :)).  It's must more efficient but more importantly, conducive to the collaborative, somewhat asynchronous classroom environment I want.  It allows the students to do everything they need to do during class time, and there is space for individual, large group, and small group work - or anything else we need to do!

(By the way, yes I am lucky to have a large classroom, one of the largest on campus.  And the fact that I took these pictures today in my smallest class of 28 kids (the rest are between 33 and 38 students) makes it seem like there is a TON of room!  I have seating for 49+ students between the tables, rows, and stations.  Thank goodness the largest class this year was 39 at one point, but I love having the flexible space.)

There are basically four "areas" to my classroom:

1. Groups - I have 6 tables (or groups of chairs) each for 6+ students.  This is where students are most of the time during class.  They have their discussions in these groups and then are free to move to other tables to work with classmates when doing practice problems.

2. Small Group "U" - This is set up for easy small-group teaching, remediation, support, etc.  Sometimes I will bring a standing whiteboard to the opening and actually go over a problem while the students sit around it (they pull up their own chairs).  Other times, I just sit in the middle in a rolly chair and can easily get around to all the students who need a little extra help or re-teaching one-on-one. I love it!

3. Quiz/Test area - These rows of chairs are used for anyone taking concept quizzes or tests.  On test days, the three tables that are made up of chairs also turn facing the whiteboard so everyone has a spot as needed.  On most days, there are never more students than what the rows have right now.  This makes it easy for me to see who is quizzing.

4. Computer "lab" - I have 3 desktop computers, 2 laptops, and then a half-class set of iPods for students to use.  The desktops are all together and then the two laptops are on desks throughout the room.  iPods are (obviously) portable to wherever students want to use them.  Students can use computers whenever they want/need to in order to watch a lesson, submit a WSQ, or otherwise check something out on the internet!

The view from my desk area.  Here you can see several groups of students working, a student using an iPod (lower right), some girls on the computers, and the small group "U".  This view used to face the "front" of my room and I had a screen that pulled down in front of the whiteboard so it couldn't be used efficiently.  The screen is now moved (you'll see soon...) so we can use that whiteboard space for whatever we need to.

The rest of the previous picture, still from my desk (lots of papers on it and the "U"... that's what happens during finals week!). A few more groups working (you can see these groups are self-chosen of 3's, 4's, and 2's... there's even a girl in the far corner using an iPod with her feet up but she's blocked from view).  Another whiteboard that can be used for... whatever we need!

One of my "computer lab" laptops, as well as where I moved the screen so now it covers a small piece of wall in between two bulletin boards instead of half a whiteboard!

Students LOVE the new iPods. I have 15, but only 4 available right now as I'm still waiting for the color-coded cases to come in (I ordered them from Amazon and they are shipping from Hong Kong... guess that takes a while!).  It's funny how there will be computers available but they will prefer to use the iPods.  I'm still figuring out the system for all this, since I just got them in December.  Not sure how I'm going to do the check-in, check-out process, etc.  Hence why this student is sitting how he is with the iPod plugged in - the iPods were all dead from last week but none of the students mentioned that so I didn't have them charged!  I'm hoping to figure out how to manage all of it once the rest of the cases come in.

The "Quiz/Test Area". Students come here whenever they are ready to take quizzes, which are completely self-directed and self-paced.  They are not on a computer (I check too much of their work in math!), but everything is organized on the side wall (right where the picture cuts off) with a different version of the quiz every day (I love Kuta Software!) and I hardly have to do any management at all.

My "U". Empty now, but well used, enjoyed, and appreciated.  This is so great for small group teaching and help.

My mini "Computer Lab" of desktops.  Thank you to the school for providing them!!

A view from the back door of the classroom.  Here, (from left to right), you can see my desk, the small group "U", the screen for daily announcements or any whole-group information, some groups working, and the front door. 

And, for you visual readers... here's what it looks like all put together:

A quiet day during finals week... but you can see the room arrangement :)

And, an "aerial" view.  See bigger document here.

Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my classroom!


  1. You are a Jedi and an inspiration to us all. Thanks for the insights.

  2. Can you share how you organize and run your Kuta wall? (Or point me to post you've already written?

    1. Hi Ben,
      Can you be a little more specific? I do have some stuff written on my FAQ page (Question #13), please let me know if there is something else I can answer. Thanks!


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