This post originally appeared on the blog Esther Brunat.

I LOVE the U, and I am not talking about the Miami Hurricanes.

If you’re like me, then you think the idea of putting your students in groups is cute but in reality a nightmare and you only do it when you know administration is doing walk-throughs. You have probably tried different setups temporarily but none of them give you the sanity required to drop knowledge on 25+ post-millennial, entertainment-addict teenagers. Have I got an option for you!

I love the Double U.

Here are a few perks to the Double U:

  • You can check work really quickly
  • Papers can be passed out from one spot
  • Less blind spots
  • No more zig zags across your room
  • You can reach more students and less get lost in the cracks
  • Keep your sanity

How to Set Up Your Classroom Without Using Rows

You can check work really quickly

Getting from one side to the other takes 2.5 seconds. You can check student progress with one fluid motion. (Left, right, left, right, left, right) Just a simple flick of the neck. Just float around the room (on your cloud) in one fluid motion as opposed to a zig zag.

Papers can be passed out from one spot

This is revolutionary. You can pass out papers all the way across the room without moving. I understand that you need to get in your steps and closing your rings is a major highlight of the day, but at 7:40 am sometimes you couldn’t care less. Can I get an Amen? You’re just trying to make it to second period, and the less movement the better. Selfishly, this one is for you. Give the paper to the kid on the end and have them pass it around until it gets to its owner. You’re welcome.

Less blind spots

I know you’re a good teacher. I know you have eyes in the back of your head and on the sides of your head and even on your chin just for good measure but the best of the best sometimes miss a few shenanigans here and there. The Double U makes it easier to tell where the noise is coming from. You can see right under their desks, so no hidden cell phones and because you’re a rockstar you’re going to put trustworthy students in all FIVE of your blind spots (that’s right – only five).

How to Set Up Your Classroom Without Using Rows

No more zig zags

You know what I’m talking about. You’re cruising down aisle 1, you come back up aisle 2, you skip aisle 3 just to keep them guessing and go down 4. Truth be told… Beckford, down aisle 3 needs your help but now you’re too far away so you tell yourself you’ll get to him next time; but Sabby down aisle 4 is doing the assignment all wrong and you have to stop and explain to her that if she wasn’t busy hiding her cell phone under her desk she would’ve heard you say not to do that thing that she is currently doing. Say goodbye to the zigzag and hello to the loop and reverse loop. One fluid motion. Really easy to retrace your steps, and everyone gets a look with that flick of the neck that you mastered while checking progress earlier.

You can reach more students, and less get lost in the cracks

This is what it is really about, right? Have you identified your bottom 30% yet? You know the kids who administration would love you to move up a test level so the school grade can get a boost. It’s hard to reach bottom-30% Beckford in aisle 3, isn’t it? He keeps getting stuck somewhere between the zig and the zag. Making each student feel seen is 1000x easier with this Double U. Thank you, Pinterest. This setup gives built in community. Chances are, you will lose track; make sure you put a smarty pants by your struggling students to help them out.

Keep your sanity

It’s not that you don’t like groups. It’s that you don’t like off-topic chatter. In groups, they are focused on each other and the new Snapchat filter. In U’s, they are all primarily focused on you. Sure they will try and chit-chat here and there but, it’s a lot more awkward to talk to your buddy if you have to turn all the way around to do it or if you have to talk over the person who is directly across from you. If they are right next to each other, they are SO close that you can’t hear them talk but you can see them talk and it’s easy to nip in the bud. That’s it!

Need a set up to spice things up? Try this one out. Just leave room for your lefties on the ends.

How to Set Up Your Classroom Without Using Rows

How to Set Up Your Classroom Without Using Rows

How to Set Up Your Classroom Without Using Rows


How to Set Up Your Classroom Without Using RowsEsther Brunat is a 7th year teacher in sunny South Florida. She teaches math to high schoolers and enjoys all the sassy and insane things they have to say every day. You can find her on instagram ( telling daily classroom stories about how to find the funny, feel good, and keep it cool.