Top 5 Classroom Layouts for Engaged Learning

by room2learn

Believe it or not, staring at the back of someone’s head is not conducive to collaboration, creativity, or communication — key 21st century skills. If you’ve been following us, you probably know that we are not big fans of static, row-by-row classroom seating arrangements. However, we are big fans of layouts that meet the needs of the day’s learning activities.

This week, we’re highlighting a few of our favorite layouts, along with exemplar rooms submitted by our community. Browse around and see if there are any that would work for your classroom. Let’s take a look!

Pair Up!

Want to encourage more collaboration and smaller, intimate discussions in the classroom? Consider arranging the classroom in this partnership style seating, where students pair up and sit facing each other. This setup is perfect for small groups who need to troubleshoot a tricky math worksheet or discuss a riveting book before a bigger group discussion.

We Mean Business!

Ok office spaces, step aside — conference tables are finally having a moment outside of executive check-ins. This type of layout serves learning spaces quite well. In this setup, all students can see and hear each other, which allows them the opportunity to monitor how body language, social cues, and group dynamics affects discussions.

Girls Garage has done an incredible job with this classroom, which simulates the feel of a C-suite check-in. With this layout, students can take turns sharing their opinions, while the teacher or another student takes notes on the whiteboard. There is also value in replicating “real-life” scenarios for students throughout their academic career. This exposure helps prepare students for any work encounter they may have post-grad.


The scientific method asks us to observe the world around us and this Science Demo layout is great for ensuring that all students see the action. In this layout, you simply set up tables in a horseshoe or semi-circle, with the presenter in the middle. However, this layout is not just reserved for its namesake. You can use this layout in any classroom scenario where you want maximum visibility.

Rotations Rule!

Want to frequently switch things up in the classroom? Then this flexible layout is the best fit for you! This layout simply requires you to have tables and chairs that are easy to move. Then, you just rearrange them into as many types of layouts as you need, with no particular rule to follow.

One thing we will recommend — the more seating options, the better. As seen in this 3rd grade classroom, a flexible layout encourages sustained engagement and divergent thinking by chunking class periods into non-hierarchal tasks that students can rotate through based on choice or need. The teacher can then easily float around the classroom, helping students at each station, or students can work independently on the assigned tasks.

Hip Work Space

More and more people in our workforce are leaving traditional offices to freelance at coffeeshops and co-working spaces. If you walk into a modern cafe space, you will likely see high countertops (with plugs!) and people working on their laptops, side-by-side. This is a great alternative to the traditional computer lab! We love this coffeeshop laptop station because it encourages individual work time and quick moments of collaboration and peer feedback.

These are just some ideas to get your layout creativity flowing! Do you have a particular seating arrangement that works well for a specific classroom activity?

As always, we want to see and hear about your edu-innovations. Share your layouts with us on and tweet us at @HackClassrooms!