Innovative Furniture for Cooperative Learning

As curriculum in the classroom changes and more teachers are seeking ways to integrate learning opportunities for their students, classroom furniture must also change. The old traditional rectangle is fading and new designs that foster “cooperative learning environments” are emerging. As teachers present more multi-sensory lesson plans for students, the ability to arrange the desks and chairs within their rooms has increased. Cooperative learning environments require furniture that responds to mobility, functionality, comfort, versatility and durability.

“We call it thinking-outside-the-rectangle,” said Molly Risdall, Director of Marketing for Smith System, “because the furniture needs to be able to be used individually, in pairs, triads or groups so angles are essential.” On one day the teacher may need rows and on the next two days, she may need the students to work on applications of a concept in pairs or by small group. Whenever students moving twenty or twenty-four desks and chairs within the week, their new design standards arise.

Throughout the Worthington Direct ( catalog and their website, principals and teachers can find hundreds of new cooperative learning choices. “It is important to us to feature the newest innovations within the classroom, “said Kevin Worthington, President of Worthington Direct. “The classrooms of today must have new offerings that are constructed from lighter weight plastics and feature options for elementary, middle school and high school classrooms.” One age group might need an oversized desktop for laptops and another group might need chairs that are comfortable whether the student weighs 75 or 175 pounds.

The more versatile the classroom and the more the furniture moves within a week, the more wear and tear the desks and chairs receive. Durable, sturdy designs that feature strong leg construction, heavy gauge steel mounting brackets and optional casters are quickly becoming new standards within classroom manufacturing. Virco Manufacturing, Royal Seating, ScholarCraft and Smith System are all re-designing new classroom products that offer school administrators a variety of choice when selecting furniture that can create cooperative learning classrooms.

Working with school furniture sales professionals at Worthington Direct can aid decision-makers during a critical buying experience. “It was time for us to re-design the elementary schools within our district and we needed to compare quality, cost and efficiencies,” said Joe Brown, Highland Oaks Academy. “Consulting with Lane Hunter at Worthington Direct let me walk through my specific school needs. He helped me consider the various sizes, classroom configurations and color options available. It made my job so much easier. Now our elementary school teachers have the freedom to create multiple learning centers and cooperative learning environments using new furniture purchased from Worthington Direct.”

To learn more about Smith System products available from Worthington Direct, use the links provided below:

Smith System Product Overview

3-2-1 Desk

Diamond Desk

Husky Chair

Astute Chair

After spending over 30 years in the school supply, church and equipment industry, Worthington Direct ( knows what is important – selection, service, price and timing. Our goal is to make your purchasing job easier. With competitive pricing, knowledgeable sales associates, and “In Stock” products for quick, efficient shipping…Worthington Direct is committed to be your furniture resource. Schools and churches look to Worthington Direct for competitive pricing for school furniture, church furniture, preschool furniture, early childhood furniture, library furniture, desks, wholesale furniture, computer furniture, classroom furniture, chalkboards, office furniture, room dividers, storage cabinets, easels, display cases, cafeteria tables, activity tables, classroom desks, computer tables, desk chairs, lecterns, literature racks, office desks and risers among its large stock. continue reading

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