Monday, August 22, 2016

Easy First Day Seating Plan for Secondary

One thing I realized when I went from elementary to secondary, and especially a secondary elective, is that I DO need a seating chart to maximize class time but it can be a huge hassle to get kids in their seats! I wanted to show you a quick method I have been using, which has been very successful for getting kids in the classroom and into a seat on the first day of class or any time I change a seating chart where it doesn't have to be too exact.

First, I drew out a diagram of my room. I labeled each table with a number, then put in line for the number of chairs I have at each table. 

Then, I look at each class and the number of students I will have. I cross out any seats I would like to remain empty. In the seating chart above, I only have 26 students in that class. I have 31 seats, so I crossed out an entire table and one seat on a table that can become crowded.

Then, I made note cards for that class. The class is period 1 on A-days. I made 26 note cards, labeling them for each table. So, for example, since I have just 4 seats I'm using for table 7 in this class, I have four note cards with table 7 assigned to them.

Last, I made table tents on each table with the table number. This way when students walk into the classroom, they can easily find their table.

On the first day of class, as students come in, I will greet them at the door and hand them a notecard at random. Then, they can quickly find their seat with directions that will be on the board!

I have each student write their preferred name (and last name) on the note card. Then, I collect them at the end of class and can use them to put the seating chart on paper! It's a great way to easily get their preferred name. I can also take a look at who is where and move students accordingly if certain students need preferential seating via IEPs or 504 plans. When they come in next class, I can quietly move those couple students that might need it without much fuss.

I know not everyone has tables in their classroom, but you could easily use the same method for groups of desks or rows by labeling the groups or the rows similarly to how I named my tables.

Some of you may wonder why I even have a seating chart, but it is my style. I teach an every other day class that is 42 minutes long. I see over 300 students over the course of two days, so it works for me.

What do you think? What have you tried that works for you?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Space Between

I asked my advisory students what their ideal learning environment is. Where do they learn best. Describe it.

I learn best in my room. (It has) a bed and a beanbag to rest and think. Plenty of open space.

I learn best at home in my room. It's quiet. It's me. Alone.

I learn best in a stimulated room where we get to experience what we're learning. (I need) a good teacher and hands-on experience. 

I learn best in a colorful environment. Interacting with things. With friends. Trial and error.

I learn best in a quiet environment. There's a table, pencils, and a stack of paper. A person to teach the concept. It's a quiet room.

I learn best in a quiet room. There's comfy chairs.

I learn best in a dark room, a cozy chair, a quiet area. It's a comfortable spot to learn.

It's quiet, slightly messy, cozy, dark. There's exciting stuff to learn, experiments, fun ideas to learn.

And this is where I'm at.

Where do I go from here?