Alternative Seating: Where To Put All the “Stuff”

You asked about how we have alternative seating setup and I’ve answered lots of alternative seating questions! One I haven’t covered was where to put all of the students’ things… you know, their stuff.

Because we have pencil boxes, workbooks, writing notebooks or journals, etc. Here is how I went about storing and organizing student materials in an alternative seating classroom.

Alternative Seating Setup: Where To Put All the "Stuff"

Identify Your Starting Point

Let me start by saying that you might not be able to duplicate (or want to) what I’ve done. That’s because this is a topic that means something different to everyone, because it really depends on what you were doing before you started alternative seating.

If you were using community supplies, you can potentially do the same thing with alternative seating – you just may need additional supply caddies if students spread out all over the classroom.

If you were using individual supplies, you can keep it the same but you need a place to stash those pencil boxes.

If you have additional items (workbooks, journals, etc) then you need to find a place for those that isn’t dependent upon being right next to every student (like with a traditional desk or chair pocket, for example).

What I did

I actually changed from community supplies to individual pencil boxes earlier in the same year that I also started alternative seating.

We had extra stuff like math journals, writing folders, calendar binders and our book pockets (from guided reading with familiar leveled books).

The first year I tried a book box for each student to stash their stuff in. I ended up hating them because they took up too much shelf space (I wanted more of it for working spaces after all) and the boxes would fall over due to the weight of everything.

The following years I snagged (affiliate) drawer units and placed them around my classroom.

Alternative Seating: Where To Put All the "Stuff"

I took off the top drawer of a few units (so they’d fit under the short end of a rectangle table and could be tucked out of the way) and assigned a few kinders to each drawer.

The top skinny drawer was for pencil boxes for everyone who used the tower of drawers.

Alternative Seating: Where To Put All the "Stuff"

I labeled the larger drawers with 2 students names.

The drawers weren’t a perfect solution either but it totally worked well.

I only say not perfect because ideally, their calendar binders would’ve fit neatly side by side in a drawer so each student could’ve had one half of the drawer without things overlapping… I’m weird like that. I know.

Alternative Seating Setup: Where To Put All the "Stuff"

I’m convinced the perfect drawers are out there – I just hadn’t found them yet.

So if you happen to find them – email me and tell me about them {wink}

Alternative Seating: Where To Put All the "Stuff"

What worked really well about this style of organizing stuff with our alternative seating setup was to keep the things that every student would need during a whole group activity spread out around the classroom. That way everyone wasn’t going to one single location and causing a serious traffic jam just to get x, y or z.

Alternative Seating Setup: Where To Put All the "Stuff"

That’s how we stored our things. I hope you can find that helpful as you explore what’ll work for you and your students!

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