Saturday, July 10, 2010
Magic Number Seating Chart
I can remember my first day of 7th grade--new school, new people, worried to get to class on time, trying to get the hang of the whole locker thing, not to mention getting to the right classroom and most importantly knowing where to sit. Which makes me think, many teachers assign seats alphabetically on the first day of school--others let the students sit anywhere they want. I do neither. I do something I call "The Magic Number" seating chart.
I numbered all the desks with a brightly colored/laminated number and then had a set of the same numbers in a stack. When the students would walk into the classroom, I would hand them a number and they would find the corresponding desk and sit there for that day. This was done everyday, so the students sat in a different spot and were working in different groups each day.
At first the kids got confused, because this is something very new to them-they are used to being assigned a seat and sitting there for a long period of time. But it only took them a couple days to get the hang of it. The students really liked this method and I would assign a student each month to be in charge of picking up everyone's ticket after the bell rang--they took pride in making sure the cards were kept in good shape and making sure every number was picked up again. I did have a couple students switch cards so they could sit by each other--so each time I saw that, I would take the students to the side and assign them a permanent seat. This rarely happened though-the students really enjoyed the idea of getting a different seat everyday.
At the beginning of the year I gave out a seating chart for the students when there is a substitute teacher, and had a copy of this available for the sub as well. I also made this my test day seating chart, so the students would remember where they would sit when I did call in a sub.
I love this seating chart because it gets the students around different classmates everyday--building a better sense of community. It isn't a lot of work AT ALL as long as the first few days you make sure the students are on track. Also, Some of my lessons include working in cooperative learning groups, some are a solo effort, and some learning activities require an open space in the room, so needless to say, my arrangement changes quite frequently. It took me a couple years of just making a new seating chart every time I would change the room around, until I found this.