Opinion | Teaching & Learning

Create a culture, not a classroom: why seating charts matter for student success, by kevin behan     aug 17, 2019.

Create a Culture, Not a Classroom: Why Seating Charts Matter for Student Success

Marko Poplasen / Shutterstock

The start of a school year means a new seating chart for each classroom—full of students that the teacher likely hasn’t met. Without knowing the students, how does a teacher know where to assign their seats?

This question comes up each summer as teachers strive to create the best learning environment possible. From my experience in the classroom, I’ve found that seating chart choices can be critical to how students engage with one another and the teacher.

Today, the influx of digital tools and new instructional models means that the traditional classroom settings of “quiet students, talking teacher” may no longer apply. Already, some teachers are letting go of tradition and allowing flexible seating in classrooms to give students freedom to choose where they want to sit. For others, placing students into assigned groups for cooperative learning can produce the optimal learning environment.

As each teacher develops their own style of seating students, their process involves weighing several factors to create their ideal classroom arrangement. But how does a teacher know what’s best for their classroom and which student dependencies should factor into these decisions?

Prep and Plan

The lead times for seating chart planning range from the moment the teacher receives the class roll to the first day of class. Some teachers wait until getting to know the students before assigning seats, with open seating in earlier weeks and a solid chart after seeing how students interact, focus, and learn. This reactive approach can work better for teachers who enjoy flexibility and adaptability.

Others take a proactive approach, often by asking previous teachers of those students for their feedback. While this warrants extra legwork at the beginning, polling fellow teachers about their previous students can sometimes help identify when seat placements are beneficial to how an individual student engages in class.

Consider Preferences

Options for seating arrangement type vary, from row-and-column grids to two-person tables to stadium seating. Some draw inspiration from their favorite popular hangout spots, like Starbucks . (But others warn against turning flexible furniture design into a fad.)

For more traditional layouts—whether in rows or in the form of a semi-circle arrangement—past research suggests that students who sit toward the center tend to participate more in classroom discussions.

Although a fixed seating chart does make it easier to remember students’ names, a teacher might decide to change up the layout regularly for a variable learning experience, some as often as every day and others about once a month. That’s not to say that change is necessary for everyone. As long as a classroom is functioning harmoniously, a fixed seating chart can remain unchanged throughout the year. If something doesn’t work, then the teacher can adjust until an arrangement sticks.

Other Factors and Dependencies

There’s more to a seating chart than telling a student where to sit, as many other considerations must be taken into account. Learning disabilities, academic performance, and vision problems could necessitate students being placed in the front of the classroom to ensure better learning and higher engagement.

Social considerations and partner compatibility are important to consider because some students work well with others, even if their socialization can be distracting. It’s common for friends to ask to sit together and not unusual for a teacher to separate them to avoid over-socialization. What they might later learn is that the friends complement and challenge each other in a positive way. Being open and malleable as a teacher creates opportunities for students to learn from each other collaboratively.

Clustering students into groups can also lead to learning environments that foster student collaboration. Previous studies conducted by psychologist and John Hopkins research director, Robert Slavin, points to positive outcomes from cooperative learning, in the form of students learning more, enjoying school and the subject, and feeling more successful.

Create a Culture, not a Classroom

It is integral for teachers to find a layout that suits their preference and instructional style, in ways that make them most engaging and effective. But it is also important to create an environment where students can support each other.

Grouping high level and low level learners together is useful in facilitating peer coaching, and heterogeneous groups can help each other in the learning process. In my experience, this method has been the most effective way to encourage a positive exchange for collective learning in a classroom community.

The seating chart is an underrated tool that can help turn a good learning environment into a great one. While there is no clear model for where to place students, if done correctly, a well-thought-out seating chart fosters an effective classroom environment that allows students to maximize their learning potential.

Kevin Behan is a product manager at GoGuardian.

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Should Students Have Assigned Seats?

Students in Jenny Umland's class choose their own seats.

When students walk into Jenny Umland’s class, they don’t automatically go to the same seat they sat in the day before. In her classroom at Riverdale Heights Elementary School in Bettendorf, Iowa, students are allowed to sit wherever they want. Umland doesn’t assign seats. In fact, she has done away with most of the regular desks and uses beach chairs, standing desks, and rocking chairs instead.

Riverdale Heights is one of a growing number of schools that have ditched assigned seats. Many teachers say letting kids choose where to sit helps them learn how to make good choices. Some teachers point out that students are often more comfortable speaking up when they’re sitting near kids they like the most.

“If kids are happy and comfortable, they are more willing to learn,” says Umland. After 19 years of teaching, she tried non-assigned seating for the first time this year. She says she’ll never go back.

But not all teachers are ready to get rid of their seating charts. Some say having assigned seats helps students focus on their work, instead of where they’ll sit. Teachers also argue that it cuts down on distracting talk in the classroom because kids can’t choose to sit next to their friends.

Here’s what two of our readers think.

Letting students sit wherever they want can create chaos..

Assigned seating helps keep classrooms under control. Without specific seats to go to, students might argue over who gets to sit in the best spots. I would find it hard to work in that environment.

A more controlled classroom leads to better learning. A 2012 study by Montana State University found that high school students did better on tests when a teacher assigned their seats. 

Kevwe Emoghene, Texas

Students should be comfortable when they learn..

My teacher, Mrs. Umland, allows us to choose our own seats, and it’s great! 

I used to dread sitting in the same seat every day. Being allowed to sit wherever I want makes school more enjoyable. I can sit where I’m most comfortable.   

Plus, the setup in my class helps kids get along better. If two students want to sit in the same spot, they have to talk it out and compromise.

Zach Zuiderveen, Iowa

Roxanna Elden

Two Ways to Assign Seats on the First Day of Class

by roxannaelden

It can be hard to label permanent seats before the first day of school, because your class roster will change throughout the first week. The first week may also provide some clues about which students should sit together, and—more important—which students should definitely not sit together. If you’re not ready to assign long-term seats, here are two methods for seating students in a quick and orderly way while still leaving some wiggle room.

Option 1: Label desks with something other than student names.

Especially in higher grade levels, you often have several groups of students throughout the day; chances are, you’re not taping student names to the desks anyway. You may, however, want to label the desks with numbers. Or, you can get creative and label them with symbols that match your subject matter.

My favorite system involves two decks of playing cards. (In my experience, it’s better to use only the numbered cards, not the king, queen, or jack. You can tape the king or queen of hearts to your own desk as a clever touch if that matches your style.)

Here’s how the system works:

assigned seats school

Note: This system is not perfect. (No system is perfect.) Among other things, the cards get grungy after a while. You’ll probably have to replace them a few times a year. What I like about this system, however, is that it keeps kids from sitting with the friends they walked in with, and it also keeps them from heading straight for the seats in the back of the room on the first day.

Option 2: Strategically Place Empty Seats. And Don’t Bother With Alphabetical Order.

This is often a good option for the lower grades, where you have one group of students and also often have a classroom theme, so the kids’ names can be written on paper caterpillars (or whatever) taped to each desk. For this system, just assume that you’ll need five extra desks for students who join the class at the last minute, and you’ll also need some extra, blank paper caterpillars, and some extra tape. (Chances are, you’ll have some no-show students as well.) You can decide in advance where to locate these extra desks based on how you’ve organized your classroom. What you’ll want to avoid, however, is labeling the desks alphabetically, only to let out a long, exasperated sigh when a student whose last name starts with M walks in and messes up the whole thing .

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The Pros and Cons of Assigned Seating

Cite this source.

Ah, the seating chart. Spawning many a sleepless night for the teacher and many an enmity among students. Okay, okay, or friendship.

Maybe you've got rows. Maybe you've got a bunch of desks side-to-side in a great big semicircle. Maybe you've got groups of four-ish. Maybe you listened to our physical classroom advice and you have a room that can adapt to all of the above.

However the desks are arranged, things get more complicated when the time comes for students to sit in them. So we're here to tell you the single, sure-fire way to ensure that the way your students sit will be quiet, conflict-free, and conducive to learning. And when you're done lobotomizing them, we know a good lawyer or two you may want to get cozy with.

But for real.

There may not be one way that's guaranteed to make your seating arrangement go off without a hitch, and hey, there probably isn't just one arrangement that'll work within your class. So what we're really here for is to run through a few ways other teachers have done it, with the bottom line that it all comes down to your classroom, your students, and your preferences.

And if your preference is the lobotomy route, then, well, you're on your own.

Assign Seats Alphabetically

Going the alphabetical route is a good way to show that you're the one in charge of the seat map, but you're not playing any favorites in the way you divide up the young 'uns.

The pro: you still get some semblance of order by taking control of where people sit. And if all the B's work really well together, bully for you.

The con: There's no changing the alphabet. So if Tommy Tucker and Tucker Tomson can't stop shoving each other, you're kind of stuck.

Sure, you can always start off alphabetically and make adjustments as needed. But then you're just moving closer to the behavioral model. So let's dive on into that.

Assign Beats Behaviorally

At first this seems like the golden ticket. Keep the class clowns separate, create groups (or pairs, or lines, or whatever) that won't clash, and all that's left to do is teach. Easy, right?

Well, is it ever? The first complication is this: do you group together all the quiet kids in one spot, the mathletes somewhere else, and try to keep the noisy folk as dispersed as you possibly can? Or is it better to even it out?

Oh, also, you may get accused of playing favorites (or least favorites) based on some students loving their spot and others feeling like they're isolated from friends, near a bully, unable to have their voice heard, or next to the AC that they swear is the reason they couldn't hear you assign the homework on Wednesday.

So you could mathematically determine the ideal arrangement of a couple hard-workers to balance out a troublemaker and inspire an introvert—and that theory will just flop in practice. Why? Because students are human. And if they think they're being seated unfairly, they just may find a way to rebel.

Assign Seats Groupally

Divide 'em up into three, four, five, or as you see fit, and tell them where in the room to mosey on over to. To mute potential mutiny, add a semblance of free choice by letting them choose how to sit within the group. If you present this as an opportunity, call them teams, and let each come up with a team name (or color, animal, Backstreet Boy, you name it), you head off some of those potential behavior probs at the pass ( source ).

What have you just done? You've created heterogeneous groups in way that'll keep discipline problems distributed across the room (we hope) and provided fun little distractions so no one can get too huffy about having their friends across the room.

The cherry on top of group seating arrangements? Switching them up.

Which brings us to…

Reassign Seats.

Every month. Every two weeks. Every time a kid calls you bae. Whatever.

The point with constantly shaking up the assignment is to be sure that the students have a chance to work with all of their peers. And to avoid some of the problems that came up in the behavioral section, just don't let them stick around long enough to be a thing.

You already created a team, let them pick their own seats at their team table, and had them come up with a team name. Awesome. Bonding sauce. Chances are, even the ones who were whiniest about their team in the first place will be at least a little sad to disperse. But by keeping it moving, you provide the ones who got a little sick of their pencil-tapping teammates a sigh of relief. Plus, we can't over-emphasize the thing of letting them work with all their peers throughout the year.

That way, however many teams you go through during the school year, by the time it ends the whole class'll feel like one big team.

Assign Seats at Different Times of the Day

Especially if you're working differentiated instruction into your classroom, you want to have a space that can adapt easily to a range of projects, working arrangements, and group vs. individual study. If that's the case (or if it's not, but you like this idea anyway), come up with something like "home-base seating" (or something less dorky-sounding) that you can call out to get your youth in order—and quick.

Whether they start and end each day that way, or it's just a way to do a thing quickly (for say, attendance), or it's something you rarely use because you're so gung-ho with the student-choice model, it can be a good tool for your back pocket.

Option Z: Don't Assign Seats

Yeah, even after the brilliant shifting team idea. And the home-base thing, which we know you ignored.

We still have to play devil's advocate. Or at least, you know, go through all the options.

Let's be real. Assigning seats is kind of increasingly optional as the students get older. Sure, you may have some disciplinary reasons or a range in ability (whether in concentration, calculus prowess, etc.) that gives you a reason to keep assigning all the way up. Or maybe you just like the power. We just say the age thing because we're assuming high school seniors are a lot less likely than kindergarteners to turn on the waterworks when they don't get seated by their bestie.

So what if you're the free-love type and want to let them pick where to go? We're not going to judge. Do your thang. You just want to keep your eyes peeled for the whispering, the note-passing, and the check-out-this-hlarious-tweet-I-just-posted-when-Teach-wasn't-looking.

Your options: separate the culprits, revert to assigned seating, or be willing to keep your eyes open and your reprimands flying if necessary.

And if you're lucky, it won't be necessary. Giving students the chance, and the trust, to make that choice on their own can be the incentive they need to stay on-task.

We know you believe us. But here's a line from Fred Jones' Tools for Teaching and the matching website just to show that we've done the research to back it all up: "When students as a group are given the freedom to sit wherever they want in a classroom, they will always choose the location for themselves that is to the teacher's greatest possible disadvantage."

Uh oh. Is that really what we've been saying all along? But wait:

"What about the belief that those students are actually people and that none of us likes to be controlled? There is research and experience to show that students who have a voice in establishing the rules are much more likely to internalize and truly support/follow those rules" ( source ).

Whew. Thanks Fred.

So, maybe you let your students have free reign, or maybe you find a balance so that you still feel in control, but they don't feel too much like they're under your thumb. It's all about figuring out what works with your class dynamic so that your students sit still, and are happy to do it.

No lobotomies needed.

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The Lafayette Times

Should we Have Assigned Seats in Classrooms?

Emma Hacker , Staff Writer | December 8, 2022


Emma Hacker

Lexington, KY: A Lafayette science classroom full of juniors and seniors working together on an assignment.

When students walk into a teacher’s classroom, one of the first things they want to know is where they should sit. Many teachers choose to take away the mystery by creating classroom seating arrangements, which ends up sparking a heated debate.

First and foremost, classroom seating arrangements can be very beneficial at the beginning of a school year. With these seating arrangements, it is very easy for the teachers to quickly learn their students’ names. With a seating chart, you’ll know who is sitting where and be able to recognize faces in the classroom faster.

Also, If your seating chart is arranged alphabetically, turning in papers for grading is a cinch. When all papers are in alphabetical order already, teachers can easily enter them into their computer faster.

Also, when having a seating chart, it may be able to prevent classroom disturbances and issues between students, such as students who talk during instruction frequently and disturb the rest of the class. Or, for students who struggle to see or pay attention, you can move them up towards the front to keep more of an eye on them and help them when need be. And finally, by choosing where students sit, you can help them potentially meet new people and watch new friendships blossom.

There are a few cons to assigned seating, such as the risk of sitting people who dislike one another together heavily. This had happened to me earlier in the year when someone I was made to sit by was someone I had previously dated and left on bad terms with, but his name came right after mine alphabetically.

Another disadvantage with seating charts is that students with poor vision or hearing difficulties may only be able to participate in class if they can choose their seating; and this is not always an option. Also, an assigned seating may be disadvantageous to introverted students. When choosing their seats, they may sit by friends, encouraging them to participate more in class discussions.

The Lafayette Times interviewed Lafayette Sophomore Alyx Rose about which form of seating they preferred.

The Times: Do you prefer assigned seating or the ability to choose your seats, and why?

Alyx: I like assigned seating because no one can take my seat. I enjoy being in the same seats all year and feel as if changing seats tends to cause my work to falter.

The Times: Do you have any classes that let you choose your seats? And if so, would you say it’s led to you being more vocal in class discussions?

Alyx: In theatre, we are allowed to choose our seats, and we’re free to sit anywhere we’d like the entire year. I would say it has led to me being more vocal, though, and I enjoy participating in class discussions alongside my friends at the table. Despite this, I prefer assigned seating, especially for my work-heavy math and English classes. I don’t think I could focus if I could sit where I want to in every class.

Assigned seats should be present in classrooms, with a few minor tweaks. If students have issues with their sight or hearing, they should be allowed to choose their seats to participate to the best of their abilities. And if in a class you’re sitting beside someone you’re uncomfortable with, you should have the option to move somewhere else in the room, which, luckily, most teachers will let you do if you explain your situation.

While it can be hard for some people to sit away from their best friends or people they may know, ultimately, just as the student interviewed stated, it could be the best for your grades and work ethic. But, regardless of whether teachers decide to let students choose their seats or not, they should have rules in place ( and hold them to high expectations) that allow the students to be able to put their best foot forward in class.

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Do seating arrangements and assignments = classroom management.

Now might be a good time to take a long look at your classroom seating arrangement. Advice and opinions about classroom arrangements and seating assignments abound -- and Education World explores the possibilities. Included: Tips from Fred Jones on how to get the most out of classroom arrangements.

assigned seats school

Classroom management experts and experienced educators say the decisions teachers make about whether students will be allowed to select their own seats and about the physical arrangement of the classroom can have an impact on classroom discipline and the effectiveness of instruction.

Classroom management expert Fred Jones, author of Tools for Teaching, says the typical classroom arrangement, with students' desks lined up in neat rows, makes it easy for custodians to do their jobs but tough for teachers to freely walk among their students' desks. Teachers should be able to get around the classroom quickly and frequently, says Jones.

"Don't approach this as a Jones's philosophy," Jones told Education World. "In fact, talk to any experienced teachers, and they think of this as a commonsense approach. Either you work the crowd or the crowd works you.

"As the teacher is moving about the room, he or she can check the students' work. There is a lot less fooling around a lot more time on task just by being among the kids and moving around the room. Natural teachers are doing it because it's obvious.

"As the teacher strolls around the room, what they keep doing is having the kids subconsciously saying, 'I have to keep working,'" Jones said. The bottom line is that a good classroom seating arrangement is the cheapest form of classroom management. "It's discipline for free," he said.

Keeping Desks Close


One example of an effective room arrangement is one that groups students into three sections, as depicted in the photograph. Jones suggests pushing two desks together on each side of the room, angled at a slant toward the front of the room and push four desks together in the middle of the room. That arrangement creates two walkways to the back of the room and four walkways side to side between the rows.

Key to Classroom Management

"I agree that the physical arrangement to seating and the assignment (or lack thereof) to such is basic classroom management," said Marlynn Elliot Fulton, a visiting instructor and Teacher in Residence at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut.

"There is a very delicate balance between the teacher communicating a sense of territory (teacher in charge) and the students feeling comfortable and at home," Fulton told Education World. "Each of us has to find the balance that best suits us and the class we are teaching. Just think of the differences between the cozy reading corner with rocker and rug found in most kindergarten classrooms and the rigidly organized rows one sees in certain high school classrooms. Each has its place and purpose."

A high school history and social studies teacher for 27 years, Fulton preferred -- and still prefers in a college setting -- arranging students' desks in a semicircle, one desk deep. "Each student can see every other student (as can I) and each person's ideas are given value in discussions," she said.

Fulton states that there are advantages and disadvantages with about every type of seating arrangement. Teachers need to find one that works for them.

Debate about Assigned Seats

Many teachers recommend assigned seating to let students know who is the boss. "Unless the teacher takes responsibility for assigning students to seats that will facilitate discipline and instruction, students will always do just the opposite," Jones explains in his book. "When students as a group are given the freedom to sit wherever they want in a classroom, they will always choose the location for themselves that is to the teacher's greatest possible disadvantage."

Not everyone agrees with that notion. Phil Clinton, principal of the Anglo-American School of Moscow in Russia sees it differently. During a listserv debate last year about whether teachers should assign or not assign students to specific seats, Clinton objected to assigning students seats.

"All this talk about control in the classroom is very interesting but more than a bit disconcerting," he stated. "Is it really a question of controlling our students? Not that I'm for education in chaos, mind you, but is control really the aim here? What about the belief that those students are actually people and that none of us likes to be controlled? There is research and experience to show that students who have a voice in establishing the rules are much more likely to internalize and truly support/follow those rules."

Clinton said that although he wrote those comments a year ago, he still holds that same belief. "I live and work in a country where control was, indeed, the major issue. Now that the regime that had all that control is in disarray, no one knows quite how to act. There's something about control that goes counter to education in a democratic society."

Article by Diane Weaver Dunne Education World®  Copyright © 2019 Education World

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Something New

Assigned seats in classrooms are important for kids' friendships.

Our children go to school for education, but school also has a huge social aspect.

Our children go to school for education, but school also has a huge social aspect. Assigned seating in elementary school classrooms helps determine who becomes friends with who and what friendships are sustained. Many elementary school teachers utilize a seating chart for many reasons including just learning their students' names and personalities, and grouping kids together who may get along. Seating charts are also used to keep kids organized themselves, but these assigned seats wield a special power when it comes to friendships in the classroom.

Teachers can absolutely influence friendships and how long they last by their seating charts. A new study published in Frontiers in Psychology focused on elementary school seating charts and the friendships students form every year. It makes perfect sense for kids who sit near each other in their class to form friendships with each other. These friendships can grow and change as seats are moved during the school year.

Researchers categorized classroom seating into three distinct areas

RELATED: Science Confirms That Sitting All Day In A Classroom Is Bad For Kids

There were 235 participants in this study all in 3rd, 4th or 5th grade. There were 129 boys and 106 girls and these kids were between the ages of 8 and 11 years old at the time of the study. Researchers asked each student to nominate two friends at two different times in the school year, 13-14 weeks apart.

These friendship nominations were to see which other children the kids preferred in their classroom. Children were asked to nominate their best friend and then their next best friend.

Researchers were also provided with the teacher's seating charts and analyzed where the kids had been sitting in the classroom throughout the year. It's important to note that by the middle of the school year, all the children knew all their peers in their specific classroom proximity. None of these kids were strangers by this time and had gotten to know everyone's names and personalities.

Reciprocated friendships often occurred when two of the same students would nominate each other as friends. Looking at the seating charts, researchers were able to determine that kids who sit near each other form friendships on both ends.

Teachers can make these seating charts beneficial for all their students by placing friends together, or helping the shyer students in class meet more friends.

Source: Frontiers in Psychology , New Web India

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Save Me a Seat Novel Unit and Activities Chapters 30-49 "Friday"

Save Me a Seat Novel Unit and Activities Chapters 30-49 "Friday"

Editable Music Seating Charts

Editable Music Seating Charts

Treble Tree Music

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Save Me A Seat Comprehension Task Cards

Save Me A Seat Comprehension Task Cards

Into Inclusion

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Voting from Your Seat and on Your Feet

Voting from Your Seat and on Your Feet

ELA Seminar Gal

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Assigned Seating in high school

assigned seats school

My advice is to seat them alphabetically. Say "It's for attendance purposes at the start of the year. We'll see if we can choose our own seats after the first quarter." Or something similar. Basically just make it seem like you're doing it for purely practical purposes instead of behavioral purposes.

This is great advice. Thank you!

I do this every time, but I Intentionally don’t put a date one it. Just we’ll see how it goes in a few weeks after I put faces to names.

Before the pandemic, my class teacher sat us down by height wise (tallest at the edge, average in the middle and the smallest at the other end), that is, the tallest and the smallest sit on the same bench. This is done so that shorter ones can see the board clearly. Picture for reference

After each week, we "rotate" where we would go one bench back (idk why but this year, the girl's side always goes back each day) to give everyone a chance to sit at the back and at the front.

This year, they have yet to do this, so we are just sitting in whatever place we want to and rotating.

As a person who grew up with my last name being toward the very end of the alphabet I hate of this. I was always in the back and couldn’t see the board.

If you're going to assign them, do it at the very start. Preferably before the very start. Have the kids come in and their names are already on notecards on their desks.

I didn't have assigned seats to start the year, but with one class I had so many kids that were failing that I rearranged. Now everyone that's failing has to sit right up front next to me until they're passing, then they get the privilege of sitting where they want again.

All that said, don't stress too much over this. It was your first year. More than likely, pretty much everything was going to be a disaster regardless of what you tried just because you have to find your footing. The fact that you're even thinking about next year instead of quitting is a major victory. This year is nearly over and you survived. That's a win in my book.

Thank you so much for this kind reply, it really means a lot to me.

I love that I'm not the only one who puts failing kids in the front. For most, they worked a little harder to sit somewhere else. I still have one lazy kid in second period who doesn't get it.

I agree, with so many teachers quitting after this dumpster fire of a year, wanting to come back for more is a win!

I want to say thank you for this as well. It's my first year as well and this is a struggle I've been having in my classroom.

If only it was that simple. I'm probably getting non-renewed because as a first year I didn't get it right and had to keep trying new things. Now, I can't get hired anywhere else because they all ask if I have excellent classroom management and am able to be on students every second so they only act in the structured and planned way I allow .. and I'm not to the point I can keep every student sitting all day without any disruptive behaviors.. I manage to get through my lessons and the worst behavior is they may go in their desk a bit during lessons or talk to someone near them. But, that's too much bad behavior. Must be 100% engaged 100% of the time and give them zero freedom, using a very firm teacher voice.

Also, was told not to use any positive incentive programs like classroom points or weekly rewards. Firm, constant supervision and intense structure with no wiggle room only.

At the beginning of the year, I would go alphabetically. I got hired Jan 31, and rearranged the seats from rows and lines to pods. I gave students the choice to sit where they wanted, with the caveat that if they did not work well with who they chose to sit with, I reserve the right to move them. I only had one class where one day I asked students to separate. Overall, they have been pretty great. Especially since the kids knew each other, and I didn't know them, I thought it was the best option.

Yes I assign seats starting day one. I mix it up every 1-3 chapters. Yes, I always have 1-2 students who get reminded 2-5 times a week to go back to their seat. Last two months or so I’ll let them choose their own seat.

Always do it. They will sit with their friends and work won't end up getting done.

Eventually you will get a feel for who can work with their friends and still be effective, and who can't sit next to each other. Switch it up consistently, like every month, quarter or grading period. They will complain but some appreciate it when they make new friends.

When I struggled with classroom management, the seating chart was the BEST tool in the shed. Any kid that refuses to sit in their assigned seat gets sent out and a referral written for insubordination. This truly gives you a significant amount of control and authority over the class. But you have to enforce it 100%. Pushback happens and they’ll test you.

It’s so practical for taking attendance and learning 200+ new names every year. Almost every teacher does, so they don’t ever give me grief about it. (Like every PE teacher has the kids line up in alphabetical order to do roll and keep track of whether they wore their hymn clothes). Totally worth doing day one!

whether they wore their hymn clothes

So, church choir calisthenics?

Thank you! Yes, I'm hoping if I do it on day one they won't think anything about it.

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