Classroom Seating Charts

seating chart
There are different ways to organize the students in your classroom. Types of seating charts include student choice, alphabetical, and teacher placed. Some teachers do not believe in using a seating chart. However, allowing friends to sit next to each other can cause disruptions in your class. What about substitues, they need a seating chart as they do not know your students. Assigning high school or middle school students alphabetically might allow friends to be seated next each other or placed next to the same person since elementary school. Do not let your classroom management be left to chance.
  • A great place to start is to allow students to choose who they sit next to. This is the most student centered approach. It allows students to choose who they collaborate with. Create your seating chart based on this preference. Tell students that you may need to change individual or the whole class and that students will receive only two warnings. These warning are important as they need to learn where your boundaries are and it give students respect during this process. Once it becomes obvious a student or students are not able to control themselves around their friends, then you move them permenantely (at least a month). Other students are watching if you show people respect and at the same time, do you enforce to your consequences. Students will always want to earn their way back to sitting with their friends, and that should be allowed, but a long enough time must pass to ensure your safe learning environment is productive.
  • Seating charts are one of the best preventative measures a teacher can use. Sitting a talkative student next to a shy student might limit disruptions. Silence is not a goal of classroom management but having students engaged in the curriculum is a goal.
  • The following are some general rules of seating charts: First, any student who may be required by law to be placed somewhere specific is most important. It is very important that you, the teacher, attend IEP or student centered meetings, because it may affect your classroom, and hence how you manage the class. Second, students in the front and center of your room will receive the most eye contact from you. If you want to keep a close eye on a student, put them in the front of the room. This may work well for students with ADD. The front corners are the best place to put a student who disrupts the class. This could be a student with ADD who gets easily distracted by other students.
  • The problem with front and center is that when a student is disruptive, the whole class sees it. This is not a good place to put students with ADHD. When disruptive students are placed in the corners, students focus less attention on them. If a student is challenging, but not defiant, the back corners of the room work best.
  • Because of an IEP or 504 plans, the first row may be filled with students who are required to be there. If the first row is filled, then put your disruptive students on either end of the second row. Sit less talkative students next to, in front of, and behind the talkative student. The front of the room is also a great place to place an unmotivated student. Placing unmotivated students in the front allows you to frequently observe what they are doing and to remind them to keep on task.
  • If you feel like letting student sit with who they want is not conducive to a safe learning environment, then there are quick ways to find out who will be going to cause problems. In the first couple of days of class, let students sit wherever they want. Write down where they sit on a blank seating chart and record who talks with whom by drawing lines between students who talk, how disruptive they are and how many times they talk or disrupt. The more lines drawn between two students represents more disruptive pairing. This is great to do on the first days of school since you get to use this data for the whole school year.
  • With this data, create your seating chart by sitting the most disruptive students in the front corners. Sit students who like to talk with each other on opposite sides of the room, front/back and left/right. When placing students in the seating chart, always think, will this student talk to the students next to him or her, either next to or in front of or behind. This will help to minimize the desire to talk. Notice how much effort and planning goes into a sitting chart. This effort is to prevent a student from disrupting your class. Please remember, that elimating talking and socializing is not the goal of a seating chart. But reducing disruptions and increasing student engagement is the goal of your seating chart.
  • * Disclaimer: Before implementing any ideas from this website, please first consult your principal to make sure they are in compliance with state laws, district and school procedures.

Management Rule #9

  1. Every student is engaged in the curriculum.
  2. Classroom procedures create consistency
  3. Check for understanding
  4. Create a safe classroom environment using respect.
  5. Use classroom consequences to correct wrong student behavior.
  6. Use the tone of your voice and body language to communicate.
  7. Academically challenge every student.
  8. Easily get your students' attention.
  9. ngss life science apple logo Use a classroom seating chart.
  10. Increase participation by using collaboration.

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