The Ascending V, pictured below, sometimes angles each trio of desks to form a V pattern. Whether they are even like you see below, or shaped in like a V with the point toward or away from the teacher, the Ascending V pattern of classroom mappage has a lot of positive qualities. It was my go-to classroom format for many years before I was good enough at managing student's behavior to have only tables, all the time. My students probably spent about 85% of their time in this arrangement during the "desk" days of my classroom.
Because all eyes are forward, it is still easy to tell when students are turned around and talking to other students during your direct instruction time. There is still plenty of space for the teacher to approach students from most angles -- barring students sat in the center of each trio. Word to the wise: seat your strongest students at the center of each trio, thereby taking care of the blocked-approach problem because you’ll never need to approach them. Also, by placing the strongest students in the center of each trio, the students to each side of them benefit from their positive influence.
This format offers one very strong benefit. Grouping. In the first seating chart, if you use a turn and talk or think pair share, somehow, the most distracted students who manage to do as little as possible while being as big a pain in your butt as possible will somehow manage to talk to each other loudly about football, or manage to disengage entirely. Having two teammates to keep them on task helps. By using this seating chart, students have structured conversations with only the classmates you choose for them. A centrally-located student in the first classroom map can choose from any of eight directly adjoined humans with which to converse. In the Ascending V, you choose the two humans with whom the student must converse.
The negative parts of the Ascending V format come during directions and direct instruction. When students have classmates so close to them, it’s a lot easier for them to show off social media pictures of their new internet fling, or to whisper to one another, or to team up to cause uber mischief. This seating chart works well for beginning teachers once November hits. It can easily work well for veteran teachers all year, every year until retirement.
So much of the writing published about education is published by people who don't teach. I figured it was time for a teacher to write about teaching. I've been proud to teach 8th-grade ELA in Dunkirk City Schools since 2007, and to serve at Fredonia State University as an adjunct professor, teaching educational technology since 2017.