Seating Charts

August is just hours away so don’t forget that we have the Beginning the Year and Starting the Year categories with stuff about that. One thing to add is, in my view, it is not a good thing to have a seating chart from the first day.
I wait and check things out. I go alphabetical for a few weeks to learn their names, and then, as each gift/kid gets unwrapped and I find out who is there to stink for the grade and who is there to simply play, then I make the seating chart based on that.
The absolute most important thing that I do by far is to take my four most offensive little grammarians* and put them as far from each other as possible in each corner of myclassroom. Dong this has worked wonders. Unless you want the little grammarians right in front of you, absording away the fun, trying to get you to teach so that they can be the best ones, move them.
Have access to the fun kids who normally sit outside the “T” formed by the front and middle rows which research says is where the higher grades are earned, in easy view of the teacher.
The most mojorific kids in TPRS classrooms are often the oness sitting in the back or the sides with tattoos and stuff like that. Reward them. We are one of the few disciplines that have the capacity to bust the cycle of ignorance that rewards the best grades to the best robots.
*I define a little grammarian as a kid who memorized their way through middle school and is in shock and awe after the first few classes, when their entire worlds are turned upside down by the approach we take in teaching using comprehensible input.



7 thoughts on “Seating Charts”

  1. I have two little grammarians who always sit together. I had the impression that they were always commenting on what they were not learning. I was sure when one of them announced in front of the class last year that she had taken the French content area test and that I had not “taught ” anything that was on the test. They will be at opposite ends of the world this year. Thanks for the reminder

  2. …opposite ends of the world….
    You are too kind to them. They need to be on different planets, such is their level of manipulation and control. Such kids, at times in the past, have made me want to transport myself right out of teaching. I would rather deal with the deliberately unruly kid than those kids. Their deeply disrespectful attitude is just so hard to experience and keep teaching in those moments. However, we shall overcome. We have a hammer called CI and we are going to use it to teach the little darlings that what worked in middle school ain’t gonna work in high school. I can say that I have had success in rehabilitating every single one of those little grammarians, sometimes not until the end of the year, but eventually they come around and get it, bless their little hearts.

    1. And Laurie that is all we had then, but we are in different times now. The same children who controlled classrooms via social status and intelligence, whatever that means (it means nothing in language acquisition) can no longer do so as the turmoil begins in earnest in our schools. Krashen let the cat out of the bag, as per:
      Also, Laurie, and this may pertain only to the school I just left and its long and failed history of well over ten years with TPRS. In that building there was such a backlash to the method – school newspaper articles assailing the method, etc. and so in that building I can say that those grammarians were much more than just obnoxious. That is a very mild term to describe what I encountered in that school. Those few kids were taught to be aggressive crusaders against TPRS. But, and I think Diana would agree, it may just be that particular high school.

  3. I had my 9th graders sit in alphabetical order all year. It was a control /order thing. I was re-reading Teaching with Love and Logic again and was reminded how changing a student’s location can be a powerful thing. I seem to have such a tough time moving kids away from their friends – and that is where they will always sit (and chat) if I don’t start off alphabetically…. It also helps me collect papers really easily.
    Does anyone else arrange their classes in alpha order?

  4. I always seat my classes for the first two weeks alphabetically–by first name. Yeah, their last names are fine and all, but the first name is what I really need to learn, and this really helps me get it down.
    After that every two weeks I shuffle the seating. My classroom software (PowerSchool) has an automatic shuffle that I use (which I’ll do ahead of time and make my adjustments for personality and disruptiveness). Then every other Monday, they come in, I reveal the new seats and they move. I tell them “If you don’t like your partner, don’t worry–It’ll only be two weeks. If you love your partner, don’t worry–It’ll only be two weeks.” It works pretty well, and I’ll keep doing it next year.

  5. I like this…it’s good for both teacher and student brains, and it breaks up the opinion that folks are going to sit wherever they want. Last year, I had one group that never jelled because the “old crowd” sat on one side, and the “sevvies” sat on the other. I wasn’t firm enough at the beginning and that was a mistake. In another class, I took serious action because of the little grammarian clusters, and those kids ended up being the kind of family that I like to have in a class.
    I also like this because it’s every two weeks. I had done it every month, and that wasn’t a quick enough change if change is needed.

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