I set up my classroom by putting my desks in three long rows. I have found this to work wonderful for my seventh graders. The BEST thing I do, however, is to place what I call “stations” throughout the room so that every four or five students can share what is in the station. This can be a small shelf or table. In addition, I use duct tape to tape the legs of every two desks together and velcro pencil boxes in the middle of every other desk. We keep supplies in those too. We need most supplies in the boxes for interactive notebooking!
What is housed in stations?
Dictionaries and thesaurus
Boxes of colored pencils
A box for turning in or passing out papers
Sets of novels that we are currently reading
A small trashcan sits in front of each station.
What stays in the pencil boxes?
Two pairs of scissors
Big pink erasers
Small packages of tissue
A hand-held pencil sharpener
Stations and pencil boxes eliminate students from getting up out of their seats and save a ton of time because materials do not have to be passed out. This in turn helps manage the behavior in class! The picture below shows my classroom at the end of the year last year. I had already packed up a lot when I decided to snap the picture, so you don't see all of the station materials, but you can see the idea. The black bookshelf in the middle is one of the stations.
This upcoming year, I am definitley using this set-up again!