1st day Seating Chart

Discussion in 'General Education' started by CarrieB, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. CarrieB

    CarrieB Companion

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    Aug 15, 2009

    Does anyone have any ideas for getting the kids into a seating chart on the first day of school? Sounds weird, but let me explain a bit. I'll be teaching 10th graders and the likelyhood of my class roster being correct on the first day of school is slim to none. I would like to just put the kids in aphabetical order (since I don't really know who's who, who shouldn't sit by whom), but without a definate roster of kids names, it just seems like a very chotic, daunting task.

    If possible, I would like to make this a "semi-fun" task, maybe make a game out of it, but it needs to be orderly.

    I want to start off the year with the kids knowing that things that go on in my classroom will be done "my way". In 9th grade these kids were known for arguing with teachers about the way they should do this or that. Some of their teachers gave them WAY to much power in the classroom and the other teachers were left battling them all year long.

    I like to have fun in my class, but absolutely HATE when some 16 year old wants to argue that they know better and should be able to do things their way.
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Aug 15, 2009

    It usually takes 2 or 3 days for my rosters to settle, too.

    I let the kids pick their seat on the first day and make a seating chart as I take roll. Using a pencil because there will be roster changes. They stay in this seat until I learn their names, then we can consider another seating arrangement.

    I'm going into year 5 with juniors and seniors and I have never had to move or seperate students except I sometimes recommend seats to my really really tall kids because I don't like seeing them uncomfortable and crammed into a desk (if they sit along one side of my room they can stretch out their legs without blocking the aisle).
     
  4. ShadesofGray

    ShadesofGray Companion

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    I'm not sure if it's the most effective way, but one vivid memory I have from a HS math class was on our first day of school my teacher challenged us to put ourselves at our desks in alphabetical order. She told us which row to start from, and we had to do it on our own. It was actually kind of interesting. After we were finished, she went down the attendance list, and anyone that was in the right seat got extra credit points.
     
  5. nothermanda

    nothermanda Companion

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    Aug 15, 2009

    I'm not the biggest Harry Wong fan, but I like his idea of using two decks of cards.

    Tape one card from the first deck to each desk. As the kids walk in, hand them one card from the other deck and match it to find their seats.

    Of course, a couple of kids will probably try to switch cards, but no system is perfect! It probably goes without saying, but make sure that you hand out cards that match those on the desks...unless you have exactly 52 students :)

    When your roster is correct, you can change the seating chart, but you've already established with the students that YOU decide who sits where.
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Aug 16, 2009

    This is a Harry Wong thing? I thought I made it up!

    High school kids will accept the "luck of the draw" with no complaints, I've found. I also use the cards to set up groups for their first assignment. I have a blank seating chart and I just jot their names down quickly - my roster won't be solid for several days.
     
  7. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Perhaps I'm just boring, but since I don't know the kids yet, I just use alphabetical order. If the roster changes, so be it... a desk will be empty. If a new kid comes in, he takes the spot of the kid who left.

    Once I get to the know the classes, I then will start to re-arrange the seats based on personalities. If the class has generally been well behaved, I will let them choose their own seats after a month or two has passed.
     
  8. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Aug 16, 2009

    The problem with alphabetical order is that the kids start the year with the same person all the time. My school is k - 12 and my daughter has had to sit next to the same pain-in-the-neck kid for the first week or so for 10 years. Not fair. Be more creative than that, make it random or height order or something that every other teacher hasn't already used. :2cents:
     
  9. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    I like to allow them to choose their own seats for the first few days...it gives me a chance to see which students are friends...and which friends can't sit together! They hang themselves in that respect, and I've got a perfect excuse to say to Johnny when he complains about his new seat later that he's proven to me that he can't sit next to Tommy, because then neither gets their work done. I only do this for 2 or 3 days - then I typically do abc until I get names down, or if that won't work, I just make my seating chart.
     
  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I do ABC order. Some years I do it by 1st name, other years by last name. In my school we would know who the really challenging students were, so I could easily make exceptions. Or if I'd met a student & knew for whatever reason that they needed special seating, I'd do that.
     
  11. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    By high school, there are enough students in the building that the kids aren't sitting next to the same people for the last 10 years anymore. We have 800 students enrolled this year, making that probability very unlikely.

    That said, I'm not against doing something more creative, but I suppose it's mostly an issue of time. I have to make six of these, and an alphabetical chart can be done automatically. If I wanted to do six seating charts by hand, by some other type of sorting method, it would take several hours to do. Hours that in these first days, few of us have.
     
  12. ShadesofGray

    ShadesofGray Companion

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I don't see a problem with alphabetical order, especially in high school. I know when I was in high school it was a common expectation, I didn't really think anything of it. I guess if you got bored with it you could switch it up and do alphabetical by first name. Either way, with older grades, I don't think it's really an issue. :2cents:
     
  13. nothermanda

    nothermanda Companion

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    Aug 16, 2009

    Maybe he stole it from you :whistle:
     
  14. CarrieB

    CarrieB Companion

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I like the idea of the playing cards...in theory. In reality the few students who dare to switch cards (if they get away with it) would get a sense of power that they "pulled one over on the teacher".

    I do use a similar method for chosing groups for projects, but I am very diligent at watching them and making sure they don't trade. (It is easier to monitor than numbering off). 1st day of school is so choatic that I don't thinkI could make sure they don't trade.

    I am leaning towards the challenge to put themselves in alpha order and bonus to those that are correct. Last year my kids would work three times as hard as they normally word for a few measly bonus points. I need a sign, "Will for for Bonus Points" lol.
     
  15. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2009

    In the past I have made a map of the classroom and had kids find their spot based on the map. It was pretty fun!
     
  16. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2009

    CarrieB, I don't mean this to sound mean, but this is the 2nd post I've read from you that you are worried about students thinking "they have the power." It concerns me that you may have the attitude of "the students are out to get me, and if I get got, I lose."

    I'm not saying HS students don't play mind games, or whatever you want to call them, but maybe trying to foster an environment of respect and fairness without worrying about how students might do you wrong (or get power) would prevent a lot of the types of things that you are worried about.

    Classroom management is not about a power struggle, or winning that power struggle ... it is about respect, fairness, safety, consistency.

    I think it was you that mentioned your incoming crop of students were "known" for being a challenge ... try to not buy into that, let them have a fresh experience from you. Maybe they are a wicked bunch, but classroom management as described above will hinder their wickedness quite a bit.

    I don't mean to paint my own classroom as full of roses and butterflies, but I treat all of my students as young adults, not tricksters who are out to get me.
     
  17. CarrieB

    CarrieB Companion

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    Aug 16, 2009


    I'm just looking for ideas about a 1st day seating chart, not presumptions or judgement on how you "think" I run my classroom. Do you have any contructive seating chart ideas?
     
  18. ShadesofGray

    ShadesofGray Companion

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    Aug 16, 2009

    Lol bonus points are always a goal for kids. If you do decide to use that method, let me know how it goes. I think it's an interesting way to start the first day of school, changes things up a bit. It was memorable for me anyway! :) When my teacher did it she didn't tell us until we were finished and she was going to start calling names that those of us that were right would get extra credit. It was interesting to see people's reactions! And believe it or not there were a few that were wrong!
     
  19. sciencegurl

    sciencegurl Companion

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    Aug 16, 2009

    I never have a first day seating chart...in fact I seldom have a first few day chart. I like to see how kids do (where they WANT to sit, is usually where they shouldn't sit) and I then come back with a chart a few days into the class.
     
  20. sciencegurl

    sciencegurl Companion

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    I wanted to add that to change seats I often have all the kids fill out a note card (You can do this for the first day too...and information card) and put all of the notecards in a box. Pick out 1 notecard from the box to determine who sits in the first seat. Then give that person the job of picking who sits behind him (from the box) etc. etc. until all seats are filled. You could even give the last person picked a treat or something since they didn't get to pick.
     
  21. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Aug 17, 2009

    I'm not sure it is a constructive seating chart idea, but I responded earlier in this thread with how I handle seating charts, I think it is the first response.

    Sorry. Some of your phrasing in your posts just really jumped out to me (e.g. things will be done my way, known for arguing with teachers, sense of power, pulled one on the teacher). I was trying to be helpful, but I guess I failed. Sorry.
     
  22. lauranne26

    lauranne26 Rookie

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    Aug 17, 2009

    I usually do ABC order because it helps me learn their names quickly. If there are empty seats do to schedule changes I usually just leave them empty unless we need to use the seat.
     
  23. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Aug 17, 2009

    I use a modified version of Wong's card trick. Before school starts I make a set of index cards for each class with seat labels on them (A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2, etc.). I label each desk in class as well. On the first day they are randomly assigned a card that they use to find their seat.

    Their first assignment is waiting on their desk for them and it explains what to write on the card. (name, period, favorite subject, some random fun question). I then collect the cards and use them to fill in the seating chart. I also use them as my "randomizer" for the first couple weeks as I pull a card whenever I want a response from a student.

    I love that I spend zero time on day 1 putting kids in seats. Wong noted that having kids stand around waiting for a seat day 1 is not exactly the image you want to give off. I don't agree with everything the guy says but looking back on my own experience in school I couldn't agree more on this one.
     
  24. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Aug 17, 2009

    Kev, I like this variation because you're actually using the card to collect information. I can just use the card value and suits for mine (9-H, J-D, etc.) Thanks!
     
  25. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Aug 17, 2009

    Branching off on the idea of letting students choose their own seats the first day (and Wong's idea of not wasting time the first day), plus the fact that I'll get maybe 15 minutes with the kids that day...has anyone ever let just had the kids fill out the seating chart (put your name on the desk that you are sitting at) as a way of also taking attendance that day? Just curious
     

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