I was hoping for some input on classroom setup. I teacher high school English.
So, I have large class sections this semester, 23-25 students per class (that's big for our school). The classes are heterogeneously grouped, and our school does not a lot of options for honors/AP at any grade level. So, my classes range from Ivy League material, to extremely low IQ IEP students, to major behavior problems. I have tables, which in the past, I have always set up in a horseshoe or "dining room" set up. Students could discuss as a full class, we were all on the same level, all facing each other. Because I have larger classes, I had to get more tables, and now, although we face each other, we are very far apart. And, frankly, this is not working with these huge, diverse classes this year.
I wonder if there was any set up that worked for you best. I could face the tables all towards the chalkboard and line the kids up, but I really would prefer to teach in the "Gradual Release" manner. Our school has also adopted the "Penn Literacy Network"best practices, and we are all required to run our classes in a co-constructivist manner, always - No lectures.
I'm stumped. I don't want to obviously group kids by ability, however they have already done this on their own, and it's like a showdown since we all face each other: This side of the room wants to learn and is always engaged, that side of the room is... Not as much. At this point there are actual showdown type looks that go on at times.
All the students respect me and they don't misbehave. Some kids do become distracted easily. There are just super high level kids, and kids who "don't get it" and need a lot more guidance and help to stay engaged. I'm stumped on how to set up the physical classroom tables in a way that is most engaging and most beneficial to all the students' learning.
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