How you arrange your seating can be an asset for differentiating instruction. Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City, California, uses different seating configurations for independent work, collaborative work, mini lessons, and large-group discussions.
Through scaffolded guidance from their teachers—which includes a personalized learning platform, daily goals, and a culture of formative assessment—students understand how they learn best and what resources they need, enabling them to choose and set up the seating arrangement that works best for them each day.
Summit uses furniture with wheels—trapezoidal and rectangular tables and soft fabric lounge chairs with tablet arms—to make it easy for students to move the furniture. Used furniture networks, like The Reuse Network, can be great resources, says Myron Kong, a Summit real estate team member, who adds that another way to lower costs when purchasing furniture is to aggregate all school orders into one.
Here’s how Summit creates a flexible learning environment to support differentiated instruction.
Understand Your Students’ Needs
Before you can plan your physical space, you need to know the needs of your students, and surveys can you help you figure those out. Try questions like “Do you want to work independently or with a group?” and “Do you want to learn from a Socratic discussion or a video?”