Classroom Design: Student Work Areas

We get lots of questions about our classroom design. Specifically, how and why of each area of the classroom. Today we’re doing to show you our student work areas and give you some specifics on why we set up our student work areas the way we do and how it works. We actually have 4 areas to show you today: three seating/work areas and the classroom library!

Classroom Design: Student Work Areas

In our classroom, we utilize flexible seating. Our flexible seating started before flexible seating was a thing. 8 years ago we decided (because we had a W shaped room with no space for kids!) to get rid of all of our tables and desks. Now we do everything on the floor. But flexible seating is about choice so we do have some options for students to use during independent work time. And that choice is why we have these areas. It lets the kids have a voice and choice in where and how they work.

  • Round table-this round table was purchased on Amazon. I chose it because it’s on wheels. That means you can easily move it when you need more space. This table sits in the back of the room and is a popular spot for students to work.
  • High Top Table-this is where we sit and enjoy beverages. Not really. This is another work area students love. The chairs are kept at their lowest height and are pushed to the wall to help with safety. But yes, kids fall out. And they’re ok. Kids fall. All the time. The table and chairs are from Wal-Mart.
  • The other work are is our cozy corner. This is a $20 chair from Goodwill. We put a slipcover on the chair and added the round rug from Amazon. This is a favorite reading spot for the kids! (Warning: Do not sit in the big comfy chair during planning. It will trap you and you will never get anything done. Just sayin…)

The seating for the round table has changed recently. Originally, as seen in the above pictures, we used green folding chairs. These were from Wal-Mart. They lasted about 2 years. This year we upgraded to these stools from Amazon. I love that they can slide under the table so they don’t sick out. The wheels are optional but I do love sitting in them and zooming around the room. (And we might or might not have had stool races for indoor recess…)

Classroom Design: Student Work Areas-Classroom Library

Our classroom library is open to the kids all the time. They are free to read any book in that library. I keep all of our books there, even the read alouds that I use for lessons. The library sits in the hallway in our classroom. I placed the library here for a very important reason: it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door. I want my students and visitors to know that reading is that important. And it serves as a reminder to adults that we’re five and we’re learning to read and write and that books are so important to our daily experiences. We have a detailed blog post about our library linked below, but I’ll share some details:

  • The book bins are ice bins from Wal-Mart. $1.50 each.
  • The library is organized by author/topic/theme. Each bin is numbered. Every book in the bins is numbered. This means the KIDS keep the library organized. The number system allows them to return the books to the right bin. And I can pretty much tell you what each bin is. When someone asks me for a book I can say “Check bin 34.”
  • The shelves are custom built by a local non-profit. They build the furniture with high school shop classes. You just pay for materials.
  • One of the negatives of this hallway in the classroom is the echo. This year we added the orange and green rugs (6 total) and that has really helped with the noise/echo issues. And it helps keep the main area of the classroom cleaner because it keep wet shoes from entering the classroom.

Amazon Links:


Round Green Rug

Carpet Runners

Round Table

Chair Slip Cover



For more information about our classroom, click the image to visit these posts:

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