Finding Alternative Seating With Classroom Work Spaces

Saturday, 10 June 2017

A few years ago, it occurred to me that I was devoting a large portion of our classroom space to a small portion of our day.

Most of our day was spent at the carpet or at tables while the centers that surrounded the perimeter of our room remained empty. 

Making the Most of Our Classroom Space

So I got thinking about how I might better utilize our centers, so that the spaces could be used throughout the kindergarten day and not just for Discovery Workshop.

I wanted children to be able to use the physical space of the center during reading, writing, and math workshop and knew this meant that they would then be transporting needed materials such as books, writing, or math games into the space.

I began to call them "workspaces," to differentiate between how they were used as choice time centers. 

In looking around my room, I was able to identify 11 different spots that could be used as a workspace for 2 children. 

I created a rotational chart and as the children arrived each day, they checked the chart to discover where they would be working for that day. 

Our Workspaces Chart

Workspaces in Action

Here are some of the ways these workspaces are used throughout the day.

After completing their arrival routines, children do morning tubs in their workspace.

During reading workshop, the centers become "book nooks" for reading. 

Most children work at the tables for writing workshop, but the workspaces are always available for those who might prefer to do their writing there. 

Children can also use their workspace for buddy reading or sharing their writing with a partner.

At math time, the workspaces become the spot where they bring their math tubs.

Even assessments, such as our Show How You Grow pages, are sometimes done in our workspaces. When used for these purposes, I need to separate the children within the space, but find this is easily done.

During Discovery Workshop, the workspaces become choice time centers and the children do not have to work at their assigned spot, but have the freedom to choose their center.  

Workspace Partners

In each workspace, the children are working in pairs. Their partner stays the same for 11 days, which is the number of workspaces that we use. Once they have been through one round, they get a new partner.
The partners are also used for turn and talk in our meeting area.  When they come to the rug, they are asked to sit in close proximity to their partner, in case we do a turn and talk or share during a lesson.  

We refer to these as our "peanut butter and jelly" partners and we use these to identify who talks first or takes the first turn in a game. 

Alternative Seating

Using this workspace model has helped me utilize my classroom space to the fullest while also providing alternative seating for my kiddos. 

Included in each space is a different seating option including chairs, cushions, mats, and stools.

If a child is having difficulty concentrating, staying on task, or disrupting others while working at a table, I might suggest they move to their workspace where they might find more success in completing their work.  

How do you best use the spaces within your classroom? I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by!


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