Do you want your students to be focused? Do you want to keep your students on their toes? Are your students not performing as expected? Seating charts might the answer!
On the first day of school, I put the students in alphabetical order and keep them there for the first six weeks. This helps me learn names quickly. It also helps me learn who not to sit together in the next seating chart. In the first six weeks you will also learn who is quiet, who is loud, who can’t see very well, who is unorganized, who needs special help…the list goes on. My second six weeks has started and I will concentrate on partner work this six weeks. I have my desks in rows still but now I have 8 rows with
4 seats. Yes it’s crowded. I pair students up like this:
If I have an extra student, then he/she will pair up with the group in front or behind. When pairing students, I used my first 6 weeks grades. I tried to put a low with a high. I also have a few students with special needs, so I strategically placed them. I have one student that brings a huge backpack everyday. I put him on the far left, so he has plenty of room to spread out. Anyone that failed the first six weeks, is now right by my desk or at least in the front row so I can keep an eye on them.
It really bothers me when the desks don’t stay where I put them, so I put tape on the floor and the front person knows that at the end of class to make sure that’s where their desk goes and the whole row will follow suit.
Is this time consuming? Only on the front end. It is worth it though. I also like to label each row as an “A” or “B”. I will say things like, “A, you will tell your partner what the definition of perpendicular is and B you will tell your partner what parallel is.” I try as often as possible to have them speak the language of my class to each other.
I’ll keep you posted on what I do in the third six weeks. I’m probably going to move to collaborative groups next. That is what I normally do. Every year is different. I’ll see when I get there.
Seating makes a difference though. If students know you don’t care where they sit, it becomes a free for all. I’ve become a control freak over the years but it is only because I’ve been the teacher that let’s their students sit where they want, listen to their ipods, bring in food and so forth and guess what? It turned out to be horrible. My students were too comfortable and not ready to learn. I’ve changed and I’ve seen a big change in how my students perform. You will too when you gain control.