Classroom Seating Charts... Successes and Learnings

Discussion in 'General Education' started by i.heart.trees, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. i.heart.trees

    i.heart.trees Rookie

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    Jun 6, 2018

    I am reflecting and teaching on my classroom layout for next year and I thought I would offer some discussion questions.
    Suggestion: Feel free to reflect on any questions that interest you. So many questions :screamcat:

    - Do you have assigned seats on the first day of school?
    - What's most important to you when you design the classroom layout?
    - Do you teach your students to move their desks for certain activities?
    - How often do you change assigned seats? Or, when do you feel like it's time to mix things up?
    - Do you use a tool to help you design your classroom layout?
    - Do your students have flexible seating? How does this work in your classroom?
    -What have you found that works or doesn't work for you?
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    Jun 6, 2018

    Yes to assigned seats on the first day of school, although I may change them within the first week or two, after getting to know the kids better.

    My school has tables, not desks. So, I typically have tables with 3-4 students at each one. However, sometimes I have a table with 2 or 5 students.

    My students don't move their tables for certain activities, but they may move to a different table, depending on what we are doing and who is present at the time.

    I change assigned seats once per quarter, or more often if needed.

    I often use the Kagan method for assigning shoulder and face partners at a table.

    I have pillows, rocking chairs, and window seating in my classroom. I allow students to sit in those areas when they are reading or sometimes when doing math work. However, generally, I don't do flexible seating. It's something I'd like to slowly venture into though.
     
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  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jun 6, 2018

    Answers above in bold.
     
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  5. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    Jun 7, 2018

    - Do you have assigned seats on the first day of school?
    Yup, definitely. It sets the tone (if only for me) that the students aren't doing whatever they want. Seating may change fairly soon based on how much kids talk or if there's major issues in a group. Assigned spots save time - my students last year had assigned spots in their groups, at the carpet, and in line. There's no arguing or fighting for spots when everyone has their own.
    - What's most important to you when you design the classroom layout?
    That everyone can easily see what I need them to see. It's a little harder with tables (I have tables next year), but I mostly use tables for group or independent work so it's generally fine. I also like the room to feel open, so arrangements that give at least the feeling of more open space are my preference.
    - Do you teach your students to move their desks for certain activities?
    Not really. When I had desks last year we really only moved them for tests or when I wanted to try a new desk arrangement.
    - How often do you change assigned seats? Or, when do you feel like it's time to mix things up?
    If it works, I prefer to leave it alone. That said, I still try to change up seats somewhat regularly so kids learn how to work with all different kinds of people. I also change seats when an arrangement is especially talkative or has a lot of drama (usually petty, but still annoying to listen to!)
    - Do you use a tool to help you design your classroom layout?
    Google sheets, or if I'm feeling low-tech I'll use sticky notes with names on them.
    - Do your students have flexible seating? How does this work in your classroom?
    Nope.
    -What have you found that works or doesn't work for you?
    Mainly just that assigned spots make my job so much easier. "Are we in line order?" Always line order. "Can I sit with ____?" Nope, your spot's over there so you two don't talk. "He's in my spot!" Nope, your spot's over there OR ______, find your spot. Transitions go so much faster and more smoothly, kids work better and stay focused longer, and I don't have to worry about where everyone is or whether kid 1 is hanging out with kid 2 even though they fight constantly.
     
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  6. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Jun 7, 2018

    - Do you have assigned seats on the first day of school?
    Yes.
    - What's most important to you when you design the classroom layout?
    Easy access. Teacher to students, students to teacher, student visibility
    - Do you teach your students to move their desks for certain activities?
    Yes
    - How often do you change assigned seats? Or, when do you feel like it's time to mix things up?
    When kids become to comfortable with the people around them. Sometimes it's after a few weeks, if I've done well, I can leave it for a few months.
    - Do you use a tool to help you design your classroom layout?
    After the first day of school, having the students in there with me. After I've met the students I never rearrange without them in there. I have an easier time remembering individual student needs, friends, challenges, etc. when they are looking at me.
    - Do your students have flexible seating? How does this work in your classroom?
    Yep. Unless the students are working on a test, they are being safe, and they are not fighting, I don't care where they are when they are working. If an argument breaks out it's either first come, first serve or paper, rock, scissors to decide. I also have a noise chart in my room. After a noise complaint from me, a another student or another adult I lower the chart. If we reach no talking everyone must return to their desks and work alone and silently.
    -What have you found that works or doesn't work for you
    I never teach my students at their desks. EVER. They come sit on the floor in front of the board. Each class is different and you have to be prepared to be adaptable to the student needs of each class.
     
  7. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    Jun 7, 2018

    This is what I do too! Kids get distracted so easily at their desks; they're more focused (for the most part) at the carpet. Plus everyone's facing what they're learning, which can be hard to accomplish with desks.
     
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  8. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Jun 7, 2018

    I wish I could do that! I have a couple "teaching spots", but being in a portable with 30 students/heavy on boys has meant that if they are at a carpet space, they're often distracted with each other. Definitely different for every group -- hopefully it works next year!
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 8, 2018

    - Do you have assigned seats on the first day of school?
    Not on the first day, but I do by the end of the first week. I learn a lot about my students by observing the choices they make--who do they choose to sit with? Who do they leave out? How do they handle the distractions of their peers? Do they work well with those around them?
    - What's most important to you when you design the classroom layout?
    I want my classroom to be comfortable and welcoming for my students. This is their space and we build it together. My tables are organized to allow for whole class and small group activities.
    - Do you teach your students to move their desks for certain activities?
    I don't explicitly teach it, but we do move tables often for drama activities, etc.
    - How often do you change assigned seats? Or, when do you feel like it's time to mix things up?
    I change things up about once a month--more often if needed.
    - Do you use a tool to help you design your classroom layout?
    Nope.
    - Do your students have flexible seating? How does this work in your classroom?
    I have several places in my room where my students are able to sit during independent work. I have some old outdoor chairs, stools, thick cushions and small mats. For next year, I want to add a bar-height table and a couple of tall chairs.
    -What have you found that works or doesn't work for you?
    I have found that providing as much choice as I can for my students works for us. Underlying every decision they make is the need for them to be as academically successful as they can be.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 8, 2018

    - Do you have assigned seats on the first day of school? Absolutely!
    - What's most important to you when you design the classroom layout? Will everyone fit! Then, ease of movement. Can I get to each student without much trouble?
    - Do you teach your students to move their desks for certain activities? No. They may change seats, but the chairs stay in the same place.
    - How often do you change assigned seats? Or, when do you feel like it's time to mix things up? I usually only make one whole class change per semester. I change individual students whenever I need to.
    - Do you use a tool to help you design your classroom layout? No - pencil and paper
    - Do your students have flexible seating? How does this work in your classroom? No
    -What have you found that works or doesn't work for you? If I change someone's seat and kids at the new table start grinning, I know I just made things worse. Also, I try to give my kids a partner assignment early in the year where kids can choose who they sit next to and work with. I watch carefully. Then I know who NOT to place with someone when I make changes.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Jun 8, 2018

    - Do you have assigned seats on the first day of school?
    Yes. I have over 100 kids a day. Without assigned seats the first day of school, I'd lose my mind.

    - What's most important to you when you design the classroom layout?
    Ease of movement for both me and the kids. Best use of area for instruction.

    - Do you teach your students to move their desks for certain activities?
    Yes. We have rows, partners, and pods.

    - How often do you change assigned seats? Or, when do you feel like it's time to mix things up?
    I don't change too often. I mainly change as needed for behavior issues.

    - Do you use a tool to help you design your classroom layout?
    No. I've just learned how to best design my room over the years.

    - Do your students have flexible seating? How does this work in your classroom?
    No. I have all traditional desks.

    -What have you found that works or doesn't work for you?
    I don't like traditional rows or groups. I prefer short, inward-facing rows, but the school really prefers groups, so I use those.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 15, 2018 at 12:09 PM

    Same as this, except for designing lay out is done by students. I let them sit whenever they want, on the first day, but let them know that this is their assigned seat and I can and will move them if there are any problems.
     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 16, 2018 at 5:38 AM

    - Do you have assigned seats on the first day of school?
    I let the students sit where they want but I let them know that they will be moved if need be.
    - What's most important to you when you design the classroom layout?
    Can I fit everyone in the classroom.
    - Do you teach your students to move their desks for certain activities?
    My students are at tables...we move as needed for different activities.
    - How often do you change assigned seats? Or, when do you feel like it's time to mix things up?
    Since I let students choose their seats and they move around on a daily basis for different activities, I only change a student's location if problems arise.
    - Do you use a tool to help you design your classroom layout?
    No
    - Do your students have flexible seating? How does this work in your classroom?
    I work in a private church school and the church uses my room so I can't add different types of seating. I have used flexible seating when I worked in public school.
    -What have you found that works or doesn't work for you?
    I teach SPED and have my students for several years in a row. This means that I know my students very well, so seating is not usually a problem.
     
  14. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Habitué

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    Jun 16, 2018 at 5:54 AM

    - Do you have assigned seats on the first day of school?

    Yes. I have names on desks as students walk in. The assigned seats last through first marking period, and then I let them choose for the rest of the year, provided they don't annoy me with their choice.

    - What's most important to you when you design the classroom layout?

    Fitting all my students in a small space comfortably so that I can move around with ease.

    - Do you teach your students to move their desks for certain activities?

    No. If I want them in groups instead of rows, I move the desks in the morning because the students never put them the way I want. Seniors in HS still don't know what groups should look like and still try to do groups where they have their backs to each other if I don't have the desk moved.

    - How often do you change assigned seats? Or, when do you feel like it's time to mix things up?

    After asisgning seats MP 1, it's their choice.

    - Do you use a tool to help you design your classroom layout?

    The class roster.

    - Do your students have flexible seating? How does this work in your classroom?

    Nope.

    -What have you found that works or doesn't work for you?

    What I mentioned above. Rows work best in HS.
     
  15. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jun 16, 2018 at 10:32 AM

    Just to add a couple of ideas from my years teaching high school:

    I used short rows in a squared U so that I could reach any student in a few steps. I numbered my desks, and on the first day I handed students numbered information cards and told them to find their seats, so they were assigned randomly. I made adjustments over the first week as needed. For small group work, if students needed to move, I had several $5 IKEA stools that students could grab. No moving of desks—best investment ever! Those were handed down to a former student who is now teaching first grade in my former district.
     
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  16. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Habitué

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    Jun 16, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    Oh! You gave me something to think about this summer!
     
  17. TeacherNirvana

    TeacherNirvana Rookie

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    Jun 16, 2018 at 2:39 PM

    I don't use seating charts. I used during my first three years teaching, but over time, I've learned to use allowing them to sit wherever they want as part of my classroom management strategy. If situations require, then I create a seating chart.

    Now, there are students who need preferential seating. I discuss this with them one on one in private. If the situation arises where someone else goes to sit where this student needs to sit, I simply ask the other student to sit somewhere else. But, honestly, it's hardly ever an issue.

    Since I teach ELAR, we move our desks quite a bit. In addition to collaborative learning, I use games quite a bit in class. Or, we might do reader's theater. Depending on the activity, I may need to rearrange the desks.

    Our school uses CHAMPS, so movement is something that we teach from day one. I find that being explicit with moving instructions helps students when it comes time to move about the room. Transition time is reduced, so is the amount of noise.

    Most importantly, active monitoring during transitioning helps control the environment.
    Ultimately, my classroom is active, yet controlled. My students are engaged and learning. And, my stress level is lower because I'm not doing all of the work.
     
  18. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Jun 18, 2018 at 7:54 PM

    I have 130 6th graders and started using flexible seating last year. I allowed students to use the type of seating and chose their location based on their educational needs. I assure you that they chose based mostly on where their friends were sitting and I had a terrible time learning names. I was much happier once I started using a seating chart. I enjoyed the variety of seating throughout the year.
     

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