The Seating Assignments Routine I Swear By
Updated: Aug 1
Nothing can undermine a classroom more than having kids sitting in the wrong places. Here are some tips to avoid having to re-arrange seating mid-year.
Remember that time in School when every class you went to meant that the same people sat in front, behind and on either side of you? To this day, many teachers still seat students alphabetically because it's the easiest way to take attendance and learn students' names. While this works in some scenarios, this method is not the way to get the most out of your classroom seating arrangement. Here are some tips to setting up your classroom seating to get the most out of your students.
Planning Seating Takes Some Time and Effort
By all means, seat your students alphabetically if you have a class of 9th graders or you teach ELL students who are new to the country. Chances are, they will be seated alphabetically in other classes and doing so will create a sense of familiarity because they will see many of the same faces. It allows them to connect and make friends faster.
Once students move to 10th grade and beyond, spend some time considering and organizing your classroom to get the most from your students.
Use the first few days to get to know your students before assigning seats.
Allow them to sit where they choose the first few days with three stipulations:
They must sit in that exact seat in the coming days so that it's easier to put a face to the name on the roster.
Remind them that this is temporary seating as permanent seating will be assigned in the coming days (I usually assign permanent seats after about three days).
Let students know that if the have a particular seating preference, please let you know before seats are assigned.
10 Questions to Ask Yourself During the "choose your own seat" period:
1. Who is trying to hide in the back or in the corner? This is the kid you may want to move closer to you.
2. Who has made absolutely no connections? (Is that student shutting himself off, or is he trying to make connections but failing to connect?)
3. Who is the engaging student that talks to everyone? This student can be an asset in drawing shy students out.
4. Who is easily distracted?
5. Who is always on task? You may want to place these kinds of students near those who are easily distracted. They stay on task, and the distracted student is forced to stay on task.
6. Who keeps trying to have individual conversations with you? This student needs to be away from you or they will try to pull your attention from the class.
7. Who are the BFFs? Do I need to tell you to break them apart?
8. Who is the antagonist? Put this student next to kids who don't engage and are good at filtering out noise.
9. Who participates A LOT? Sprinkle these kids around the room like fairy dust.
10. Who can't keep still? Have this student near you and make them a helper.
Organize Your Room
Once you feel you have a handle on their personalities and work habits, make up your seating chart. Creating the perfect blend of personalities so that the classroom is harmonious will be like doing a seating chart for Romeo and Juliet's wedding, so use a pencil.