Thursday, April 11, 2013

Groups or Rows?

Groups or rows?  How are your kids seated? I would LOVE to hear!  I have this internal struggle every year.  I LOVE the idea of groups.  I spend most of the year in groups and like the set up. The downfall comes in the afternoon during math.  Rows work for me.  (This is my son doing homework after school.)


Our county uses Go Math! and it is set up with an I Do, We Do, You Do model.  When the kids are in groups, they struggle to focus on the lesson and get easily distracted.  Not to mention, math in the afternoon is HARD.  They are so tired.  Using food as manipulatives can be a huge motivator:) (Please forgive the sideways picture.  Grrrrr!)  Next year my focus is to work more in math groups, and I have tried... But can't get the timing down  to get it all in.

So, since spring break I have my kids in rows and LOVE the focus! (Please don't throw rotten tomatoes at me!!)  They still have the opportunity to work in partners and when I need groups they move around the room.  Another plus and we have started playing BUMP and it works so much better in rows.  The kids want to turn EVERYTHING into a BUMP game:) Shhhh, don't tell them they are still learning:)

And yes, I see the mistake above, do you? I actually took another picture, but it is posting upside down.  It is just one of those nights!  The good news it tomorrow is FRIDAY!


  1. I totally agree with you! I tried groups for the first 4 years of my teaching career, and though there were many benefits for it, the down sides of it made me crazy. I switched to rows to see how it would go and the difference was incredible! They focussed, paid attention and got their work done! I do lots of teaching on the floor and get them moving during my direct instruction. I can't imagine going back to tables anytime soon.

  2. I have my kids in and inner and outer u formation that I love. Basically only 2 rows deep so no one gets away with anything.

  3. We had groups during the 1st half of the year. Right now we have 3 rows and it is working pretty well.

    ~Diving Into Learning

  4. Hi Tammy,

    Space does not allow me to have rows in my classroom {we have double desks or tables as desks} , but I could see the benefit sometimes of having the children in rows. It sounds like you have the best of both worlds.

    First Grade Schoolhouse

  5. Ha! Ha! You KNOW I do quads these days! :) I think how I reconcile the occasional lapses of focus is that I do the same thing when I am in a training! :) I was taught in rows but I am a COMMUNITY LOVER and have learned that for my own personal learning groups work better. In my room I also ask what the discussion at the table was about....most of the time it is someone correcting the understanding of another student .... which I would consider acceptable. I have grown into that thinking though. I used to be the kind of teacher that wanted it quiet all the time. I think your shifting in the way you seat students is a reflection of great practice! If through the end of the year this group needs rows and grouping strategies when appropriate....then THAT IS WHAT THEY NEED! :) Sticking with something because it is what is always done is so unhealthy for our practice!! Change is good!! :) Sounds like even better things are happening!! :) You made a great call! :)