September 09, 2014

3 Benefits of Whole Class Gathering Areas Grades 4-6

For years, creating a whole class gathering area to join closely together for learning was viewed as a learning strategy only for young children.  In recent years however, educators of all grade levels have learned to reap the benefits of gathering children of all ages for whole class learning.

Benefit 1: Focus on the Speaker

The further one is physically away from the speaker, the more easily it is for the learner to get distracted.  Have you ever found mutilated calculators and piles of pencil shavings? Rather than constantly walking around the classroom and simultaneously 'policing' for distraction infractions, leave the distractions behind and gather on the floor.

Devoting an area in the room for gathering also provides a physical signal for children to focus on the speaker.  When gathering, all pencils, books etc. are left at their desks (unless required for the lesson) and children sometimes sit in assigned places on the floor.  I prefer assigned seating to ensure children do not always sit beside their friends providing the opportunity to talk with other children about the content of the lesson.



Benefit 2: Lower Background Noise 

Learners who remain at their desks also cause more background noise.  More background noise leads to a higher overall classroom noise level.  The higher the background noise, the more likely children will distract themselves by whispering to their friends, playing with a variety of items and moving around in their chairs. In turn, the speaker has to speak more loudly.  As this cycle continues, the class slowly gets louder and louder. It becomes difficult to determine exactly where the noise is coming from.  This also sets the tone for independent work after the lesson.  If the lesson itself had uncontrolled background noise then the teacher is typically left to require the class to remain silent during independent work time - the time when we should want children to learn how, when and why to ask for support from their peers.



Benefit 3: Smoother Transitions

When children are asked to move from the gathering area back to their seats for independent work, they can easily do this quickly and quietly.  Slowly dismissing small groups of children to return to their seats, is much less time consuming than asking an already distracted group of children to find their notebooks in their desks.  Children also learn to transition more quickly and frequently as they move back and forth between the gathering area and their desks.

Successful management of lessons while gathered on the floor will also depend on the length of the lesson.  Even older children should not be sitting through 30 - 40 minute lessons.  Aim for 15 - 20 minutes and teach two separate lessons rather than one longer lesson.





To learn more about the No-Nonsense way of teaching, check out my store:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/No-nonsense-Teaching



5 comments:

Jennifer Jones said...

These are great classroom management tips! I especially like the first one about focusing on the speaker and the benefits of the speaker's proximity to the student. Thank you for sharing these. Penelope’s Portfolio

Amy Nielson said...

I also love that this allows them to stand up and stretch their legs on a regular basis. Even that little bit of movement could get some wiggles out and be great for their bodies.

yanique said...

I love that this teaching method cuts out some of the distractions and it gives kids a chance focus more on the instructor and not so much on what everyone else is doing.

yanique said...

I love that this teaching method cuts out some of the distractions and it gives kids a chance focus more on the instructor and not so much on what everyone else is doing.

Nancy Strout said...

Love this teaching method. It's great for our students to get up and move to another area. That little bit of movement can make a huge difference to those who need to get the wiggles out.

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