If Something Doesn’t Work: New Classroom Set-Up

Such a simple thought but you’d be surprised at those who would rather continue doing something that doesn’t quite work over working to see what changes would work.

I really liked how my room was set up. You can see pictures from the beginning of school HERE.

However, there were some problems that I thought wouldn’t be problems.  First of all, the students sit on risers.  The risers are all lined up against one wall (except when I moved them to make more of a riser corner).  That’s not a problem…….until you factor in that the smart board (and projector) is MOUNTED on a the furthest wall from where students sit.  On Tuesday, about half the class had to move to see the board.  Unacceptable. 

I don’t know about my fellow music teachers, but I use the projector and white board just about every day (I know, I’m grateful to have to have these tools.  I too have lived and taught without them and I’m lucky my school district values my program….blah, blah, blah).  I just can’t have half my class displaced every single day because of how the room is set up…….so I changed it.

I spent the greater part of my planning time yesterday moving furniture.  Here is what I came up with.



As you can see, I pushed the risers up towards the board.  There’s no escaping the lesson (insert evil laugh here).  The two problems I came up against with this riser placement was that the back of the risers are open (no one stands on the the top row for that reason thought they weren’t standing on the top row when the risers were against the wall because I didn’t want them leaning on the wall.) and the fact that not all three sections of risers fit in this formation so the kids are closer to one another.  So far, it’s really only been a problem with 6th grade because they’re so big but, even then, they didn ‘t seem to mind.



I like that I’m closer to all the kids too.  I teach from the piano (meaning I use the piano as my podium and ocassionally play notes on it) and my computer with doc camera sits next to it.  As you can kinda see on the far right side of the image, the keyboard sits directly across from the piano on the other side of the risers.  The walkway for students is the middle and we trained yesterday on using that exit rather than using the sides or back of the riser.


A view from the other side.  PreK and Kinder (for now) have class on the carpet.  Their songs are just so movement based and they like the close quarters of the carpet.  I need some more pillows.  That poor pink one looks lonely.  🙂

The back of the room is still a good size for movement for all grades.  That was my main concern with essentially cutting the room in half.  My biggest class this year is 28.  This would not have worked with classes of 44-50 last year.  I told the kids we’re going to see how this goes.  Yesterday was very successful but, as I said before, I willing to try anything in hopes of finding the best arrangement for the children’s learning.  Suggestions are welcome!

Thanks for reading!


4 thoughts on “If Something Doesn’t Work: New Classroom Set-Up

  1. Cara,
    You sound so much more happy this year! Some of the things you talk about make me wonder if you were trained in Fred Jones Positive Classroom Discipline and Instruction? It’s a great program, it cut my discipline problems way down, and you are are using a lot of the techniques.
    FYI: Make sure you leave a note for subs which kind of markers are OK for the board. My son had a sub last year ruin a board….can you imgaine how that administrative meeting went:(

    Have a wonderful day!

  2. Thanks Elizabeth! I am so happy at my new school!

    I sent you an email with more info.

    Thanks for the tip about the white board. Mine actually does not do markers at all. There are special electric ones to use so I need to make a big note about that.

    Have a great day!


  3. Amen! If it doesn’t work, change it! My room is all carpeted, so the kids sit on the floor. I used to always have them in a circle, but the Swine Flu panic forced us to put more space in between the kids for a few weeks. That was the first time I EVER put my kids in rows. Their focus was so much better, I still use rows today, especially now that I have a projector and document camera. We move to the circle for games and activities as appropriate.

  4. This looks and sounds great! You have a beautiful room there!

    Thanks for your insight over on Mommy2Nanny3Doggy1 You are right if it is Bible school, Preschool, or home a child should listen! Thanks so much!

    Have an awesome weekend and I look forward to coming back here and reading more! 🙂 I also stumbled you 🙂
    Mommy2Nanny3Doggy1 is getting their own .com and a WHOLE NEW look so keep your eyes open 🙂

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