First Day Seating Arrangement?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    So far, my classroom is set up where desks are paired or tripled up so that I have the Fred Jones "interior loop." Is this a reasonable setup on the first day of school or am I gonna immediately invite trouble with students sitting closely together from the start?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Some classes, like mine, are set up where you have no choice but to place students close to each other. I think the key is to assign seats on the first day. It sends a message. The actual makeup can change from day to day.
     
  4. consciousteach

    consciousteach Rookie

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    I'm not an experienced teacher, as I will start in September. I've taken a course where the instructor recommended not to put them in groups on the first day. You don't know who is friends with who and you need to establish classroom management. I've said this in interviews and received positive responses.
     
  5. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I usually have free seating on day 1 because I don't want to assume that they don't know how to behave appropriately when they have a choice of who they sit with. And I tell them that. But if there are issues with them not being focussed or working efficiently then I'll implement a seating plan. And I also tell them that. So I give them the opportunity to show me they can do the right thing.
    Whenever you choose to implement the seating plan if you do, it's important to reiterate that it's not a punitive measure but rather a measure to help them help themselves to focus. If you sacrifice the relationship to have classroom management or vice versa it never works long term. They go hand in hand.
     
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  6. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I made the change for group desks together so I can implement the "interior loop" strategy of furniture arrangement. Fortunately, my only larger classes will be lower grades (7-8) of maybe 22-26 kids. Upper grades are split up into higher and lower levels. From what I see, I'll be assigned 9th, 11th, and 12th grades lower and 10th grade upper. I really like how I can travel around the loop. It remains to be seen once there are actual bodies in the seats if the seating arrangement will work out through time.
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I let my kids sit where they want for the first few days. If they're well behaved, I let them stay where they want with a warning it can always change. Most of the time though, I assign seats after those first few days. I usually get a feel for who can't sit by whom after a few days, so that really helps! Our school has very few major behavior problems though, so they're usually pretty good!
     
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  8. msleep

    msleep Rookie

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    Each teacher and each class is different. You have to try different ways and see which works best for you.
     
  9. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I've done the alphabetical order procedure each year but this will the first time that students could be placed very close to each other. For example, the first set of students in the front will be in 3 pairs.
     
  10. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Depends on where you place yourself. I had the same worries regarding students sitting in pairs or in groups. Almost always the deciding factor whether students were on task vs. talking to neighbors was how often and how close (proximity) between myself and each student. When the class got noisy it was always due to something I did or didn't do. In terms of students' ease with which to talk to a neighbor sitting in pairs affords the fake-out of looking at the board while whispering sideways or passing a note. In vertical rows - front to back - students would have to make an overt move - turn around, lean backwards, lean across the aisle - to talk. Experts could still find ways to fake you out but it would be more difficult and risk getting caught. Again, any set-up has the potential to be your enemy if you are glued to the floor.
     
  11. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Did you implement the Fred Jones seating arrangement on the first day of school?
     
  12. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I do this, too.
     
  13. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I think Loomistrout makes a valid point. You have to move around the room constantly and not just stay up at the front, because when you move around, students tend not to muck around. Up from the front of the room, it's hard to know whether students are doing the right thing. They could be giving the impression of doing one thing but in actual fact are doing a totally different thing.
     
  14. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    I always have them in straight rows in alphabetical order on the first day. I pretty much have always followed Wong's First Day of School. I have the desks numbered and I number my class lists, so they can figure out where to sit.

    We often have a lot of changes during the first week or so, this makes it a little easier for me to take attendance. I can't imagine letting my students sit where they want. Even with all the structure, we still have students who walk in on day 1 like they own the place. Nope, there is often no honeymoon period at my school, so I start out with military like structure!
     
  15. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    I guess my main question is whether to start the school year with the desks in traditional rows and then move them into the Fred Jones suggested layout OR start immediately with pairs. The second layout gives me access to all students within 5-6 steps but they'll be paired. That opens up easy opportunity to "talk to neighbors." The traditional rows separate them but there will be many more students that are a greater distance away.

    Maybe I can start them in the Fred Jones arrangement AND implement "working the crowd" even on the first day as they're filling out personal information on paper?
     
  16. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I've been reading this thread but haven't contributed because I teach elementary, not middle or high school. However, I want to chime in with one thing...

    Last week, I attended a 4-day Kagan Cooperative Learning workshop - geared for ALL grade levels Pre-K through college. We talked A LOT about seating arrangements, and your question about how to start the first day was asked by another teacher in attendance. The response was that it is absolutely okay to start in teams on the first day. It's not necessary if the teacher isn't comfortable with it, but the students should be in their teams within a few days. Another teacher asked about the issue with students talking, and the facilitator responded with the question "Don't we WANT the students talking? Of course we do!" Talking contributes to their learning, as well as building community within the class. What matters is how you set the expectations. So, basically, start out with whatever way makes you comfortable, set the expectations for working in pairs/teams immediately, and then provide opportunities for them to engage in structured conversations.

    If you haven't been to a Kagan workshop or read anything about it, I'd highly recommend doing so. It really does apply to EVERYONE - all grades, all content. There was even a middle/high school music teacher there who I overheard provide the facilitator with feedback before he left on the last day. His comment to her was "It's so refreshing, as someone who doesn't teach a regular class, to attend PD that is actually useful to me." Everyone from administrators, to Pre-K teachers, to PE teachers, to regular elementary teachers, to special education teachers, to.... was able to take away something from this workshop. Some things weren't my style, and I won't use those few things. In general, though, it was very useful and is something I'll definitely implement in my classroom. My district believes in it so much that they send all new teachers to the training - and it's pricey!
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I always put my seats in rows and avoid groups. One year I tried the put them in groups because I went through Kagan training in the summer and was expected to use the techniques. One student walked in, started laughing and said "This is not gonna work"/ He wasn't being mean, he was actually trying to be helpful, and he turned out to be right. We struggled for 2 weeks then I changed everything back.

    As far as seating arrangement (I've done it like this for years and it's working): I let the kids choose their seat on the first day, but I do let them know it's my right to move them for whatever reason I see fit, mostly due to behavior. After that we have assigned seats and they're expected to comply, and I usually don't have a problem, especially since I let them choose their seat.
    I feel that I shouldn't force them to sit in a certain seat because we have rival gang members in same classes so obviously they're not going to sit next each other and smile, we also have a lot of troubled kids, for example some who have been jumped, abused, shot at, etc, and I've found that they feel more comfortable sitting in the back where no one sits behind them, we have those who feel better by sitting in the front, on the front corner (anxiety, previous bullying, etc)

    So I try t accommodate them, and even if I have best friends sitting next to each other, it's not always a bad thing. If I was in a college class and knew only 3 people, naturally I'd want to sit next to them, and it wouldn't mean we'll be goofing off.

    You have to find what works for you. I've heard of many other approaches that can and will work in certain situations, with certain teachers and students, but because it works for one, it doesn't mean it will work for you. For example: allowing the kids to sit wherever, whenever. It can work. Seating them alphabetically first, then change it. Change the seating arrangement every 4-6 weeks. Put them in groups, pairs, circle, anything. These all make sense.

    The best thing to do is think back about what has worked in the past and what hasn't. What is your favorite style? Have you seen a good example that you want to implement, but haven't yet? Think about all the possible problems you might encounter and have a solution.
     
  18. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    This seating arrangement where I have access to the "interior loop" is something new to me. I have yet to try it, don't know whether it will work, but I am more than willing to give it a shot. The P, during our interview, even mentioned putting students in groups so he wants to see groups. I keep mentioning "interior loop" because it just theoretically seems like an awesome idea! For example, I can present something during lecture and be able to "work the crowd" and get to any student within 6 steps! I tried it with no students and it got me excited! This will be my 1st year using this type of floor plan.
     
  19. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    I started with traditional single rows front to back. Later, after structure had a firm foothold, I moved to interior loop, pairs, cenrtal aisle etc. but not groups for regular seating.
     
  20. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    Anon55, you can always teach the kids how to move into groups and partners and then move back to the rows. It's odd, but I find a lot of kids like the rows. I personally don't because it can be harder to get through, but until I learn names and personalities, it is a big help.

    I think you will be off to a great start!
     
  21. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    For large classes, and schools where attendance has to be submitted to the office for every period within the first 8 minutes of class, absolutely use alphabetic order in some semblance so that head counts are painless and quick. Once you have names and faces firmly in memory, do as you wish. All I know is that first week of school is hard enough when you have some history with the district and at least some of the students. For Pi, every class will be brand new, with no "Oh, I had your brother" to make connections. I worked at a school where, after the first couple of weeks, the student's picture came up with the name, and you could make a seating chart and see all of the faces looking back at you. Absolutely LOVED that!
     

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