English Language Arts Classroom Set Up Ideas

Middle and high school classroom organization and set up ideas. Read about seating arrangements, decor themes, and classroom storage options in the English Language Arts Classroom from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

Every back to school season teachers think about the best way to set up their classrooms. Rows? Groups? Flexible seating? They also wonder where should they keep student supplies and textbooks. I love the ideas shared this week by teachers and can't wait to use some of them in my classroom. 

Check out the curated Twitter chat below to gain some ideas for your own classroom set up. Don't forget to scroll through the photos at the end of the blog post. 

Q1: How do arrange the seating in your classroom? Is it flexible or permanent?
  • I like to arrange students in groups facing board. I also share a classroom, so I have to be flexible of other Ts preferences.
  • I provide options & they have a home in a "traditional seat"
  • My seating plan is desks in paired rows or groups, but we move them almost daily depending on the activity.
  • Seating is flexible, but I'm looking to add more options. We have tables, standing desks, balance balls, and floor pillows.
  • My seating was permanent. I liked having the control to be strategic with Ss grouping. Flexible sounds intriguing though!
  • I always start with rows facing the Smartboard and change to pods when needed.
  • When working independently, many students elect to sit in groups on the floor as opposed to their desks.
  • We do permanent seating in tables, but I assign new seats quarterly and/or by the project. I prefer rows but the room is small!
  • This is going to be my 1st year with flexible seating.
  • This year we are in a new PK-12 building with new diamond shaped desks w/ tiered heights so it will be new for me.
  • I have tables facing the Promethean & a few flex seating options for independent reading/writing time - hope to add more soon.
  • I have some flexible seating options, like high top tables, comfy chairs, & two couches, but everything faces the front.
  • I have groups at tables. I have rugs, camping chairs, and pillows for flexible seating.
  • Seating is arranged in groups.
  • It depends on the day or activity. Sometimes they're in rows, groups, or pairs, & sometimes they get to sit wherever!
  • I'm still trying to figure it out. I did the Socratic circle last year, but it had its drawbacks. Still deciding for next yr.
  • I like the idea of flexible seating, but with a brand new building and brand new desks/chairs, I don't see that as an option.
  • My desks are set up in a U facing the board, which is good for a stage for my Speech classes. I'm looking for something new.
  • I have mostly desks arranged in groups of 3. I also have some in rows too for students that prefer that.
  • I have whiteboard tables in groups of 6, stools, & an open movement policy. Just no teacher chair!
  • I have my students sit in groups of 2 or 3 so that they can practice using their English. I move them every few weeks.
  • My seating chart is flexible! My Ss get agitated because it could change five times in one week depending on what happening!
  • Trying something new; two large tables - assigned table, not set.

Q2: Does your classroom decor have a theme or is it all about functionality?

  • I have a colour scheme. Ledges & shelves are coral; so try to complement with that. This year, I'm using black and lime green.
  • I loved having a theme! Monsters when I taught MS. I would switch it every year because I had to switch classrooms every year
  • Wish I had a theme. The classroom is a mashup of random things I hang on every flat surface & none of the furniture really matches.
  • I have a new bright blue accent wall; was thinking of a "beach" theme, but haven't committed to it -- I always incorp. owls!
  • I have more of a colour scheme!
  • I have a colour scheme this year, blue and white, but I'm not crafty enough for a whole theme!
  • I have a colour (teal). No theme but I try to make it homey.
  • No theme- I just like to make it feel homey with a lot of colour, book covers, and interactive BBs
  • Front board displays h/w and objectives. Plan to re-purpose cork placemats & picture frames for portability of displays.
  • Just a colour theme - we have a turquoise blue accent wall, so the rest of the room is mostly turquoise, black, and white!
  • I have a travelogue my theme/reading is an adventure.
  • Function & reflection of personality! Best compliment from SS "it feels like home!"
  • I have a theme...school colours- green and white then I added a lot of black (one of my favourite colours)
  • My classroom doesn't have a theme, but my decor is in the navy/light green/aqua colour scheme.
  • I'm going with a Starbucks-ish theme with black, white and green. The major bulletin board will have Prepare to Read a Latte!
Q3: Explain how you keep classroom supplies and materials organized.
  • Love using pencil pouches to store tape, scissors, glue, highlighters, etc. for each student. Clear lets me see inside, too. 
  • Labels!! And constantly getting rid of things I don't use
  • The classroom is almost completely digital, which helps reduce clutter & increase efficiency...still some hardcover books though!
  • I like plastic storage w/ lids from the $ store. I usually make my own labels (crayon, etc) and stack them in the cabinets
  • Everything is labelled and has a specific location.
  • ALL about labelled turn-in trays, milk crates, drawers, & cabinets. Couldn't live w/o chalkboard stickers and a metallic sharpie!
  • We are digital - all students have Chromebooks so that def helps reduce paper scraps! I have supplies on my desk SS can use
  • Shelf with supplies. Each material in its own container
  • My crayons, markers, colour pencils, glue sticks, & scissors are in plastic bins. Paper is placed on top of a cabinet.
  • Use one of the hardware drawers for storage of small items - also drawer carts, bookshelves, & plastic bins from Dollar Tree
  • Still have textbooks that we reference but those are in a bookcase. I have bookcases with novels and a wire stand w/ books  
  • I have plastic bins with lids -- one bin of supplies for each pod (4 students). Bins are stored in a cabinet.
  • Each group has an organizer that contains all supplies.
  • Crates for journals. student centre w absent work, sign out sheet, extra materials. I plan 2 use QR codes for easy doc this yr
  • I'm working on organization this year... Like every year lol! I have coloured crates for my stuff and a Ss station!
  • Each class/period has a basket where they turn in work. Pencils are placed in a small bucket by the pencil sharpener
  • Each pod has a plastic 3 drawer supply cart. Other supplies are easily accessible throughout the room. Dictionaries at each desk.


Q4: What are your favourite ways to display student work and evidence of learning?

  • Bulletin board for work samples. I also liked displaying student data with graphs so Ss can track their growth
  • With 11 iPads I don't display as much Ss work, but I have made bulletin boards for Ss work in the past
  • A small way is hanging students' pictures when they get perfect scores on vocab assessments for a little healthy competition
  • I'm going to make a fridge display on my door out of white paper and magnets to hang their work.
  • I have a large bulletin board in my room called the fridge
  • We are the Yellow Jackets so I have a Jacket Pride wall in my classroom. I pin the incredible work my students do on there!
  • I have cardstock hot glued to my cabinets. I use paper clips to hang work to the card stock. It is simple, but looks great.
  • Student work has 2 go in hallway or on my door, or else not enough students will see it. Needs to go in high-traffic zones!
  • Set up strong and clothes pin for easy hang up. Want to use class blog and digital portfolios this year.
  • I have a Ss work wall, and I'm going to use my closet door as well! We do so much stuff on computers that I forget to print.
  • I'm in a trailer, so I just tack it up on the walls. We ♥️ to see our evidence!
  • Displaying student work on a bulletin board. Students will also create and maintain blogs.
  • I'm creating a Reading Wall of Fame and students will add their name for every 📚 they finish
  • My students love our Poetry Wall in the hallway. Poems are a fun assessment tool! These assessed research skills.
  • I am wanting to try @aurasma this year as a way to display work
  • Ss work on walls; digital portfolio; QR codes to class blog or Ss pages
  • I am the queen of displaying work in the halls and from the ceiling! It oftentimes looks like an art gallery.
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Middle and high school classroom organization and set up ideas. Read about seating arrangements, decor themes, and classroom storage options in the English Language Arts Classroom from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

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