At some point in your career as a teacher, you will find creating a classroom seating chart unavoidable. While you may not need a seating chart yourself, provide one for emergencies and substitutes as a matter of preventing problems for your substitute or students in your absence. A classroom seating chart method exists for every situation and every teaching style. You need not seat students in a rectangular grid of rows to use a seating chart. Design any style seating arrangement you wish to create your classroom seating chart.
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Classroom seating charts assist teachers in learning names sooner at the beginning of the school year. They also provide students with a sense of security and focus, as they need not worry about finding a seat each day they arrive in your class. These two items alone assist with basic behavioural issues immediately. Classroom seating charts also provide a level of safety to your classroom in your absence. A substitute following a seating chart knows immediately if someone is missing. With a chart, the substitute or class assistant addresses behavioural issues by name thus addressing problems more efficiently.
Seating charts vary as significantly as do teachers. Arrangement may include traditional rows facing front or rows in any number of other arrangements such as parallel rows facing each other. Other whole group arrangements include circles and horseshoe shapes. Seating charts may also include groups of students. Arrange your students in groups of two to six students depending on your needs and those of your students. Small group arrangement also varies and may include facing each other with desks touching, small semi circles or open shapes with a space in the middle. Arrange tables in seating charts in similar configurations depending on the size tables you have.
Tools exist to assist teachers in creating classroom seating charts. Many office software programs provide some type of seating chart template. If no template exists, create one easily with the draw tool of any word processing program. Save the chart as a template for future use. Other methods include using magnetic boards with student names created on small pieces of magnet tape. Throughout the year, student rearrangement occurs with ease. Use small post it notes to create a seating chart on paper for easy rearrangement of names. Use an overhead projector to create your seating chart and wipe names off easily for rewriting in new arrangements.
In creating your seating chart, identify patterns such as numbers of boys to girls or in a mixed grade level class, number of each grade level. Create the chart so that a mixture of students sits in each area in the beginning. If changes are needed later, make them easily. While seating alphabetically may seem the easiest solution for the teacher to learn names and be fair about where children sit, it rarely works out to provide the best mix of students per area of your room. Be sure that you leave good traffic flow areas throughout the room for both safety and ease of navigating the room.
Consider your daily use of the seating chart in deciding on the type to use so that it works for you. If you teach middle or high school students, your choice should include ease of creation so you minimise time spent creating charts. An overhead projected image of the seating chart provides older students with a visual means to know immediately where they sit when you rearrange. Magnetic or write-on and wipe-off seating charts offer the most adaptable choice so use this means if you teach small groups of students that often change.