I haven't updated you on my lack of a seating chart since the beginning of the school year, and I think it's about time. You can read the original post here.
I don't have a seating chart for any of my classes. Nope. I have class lists for substitutes, but that's it. What's the point anyway? The students think that it's funny to switch seats on a substitute teacher, so then a seating chart is useless.
I started the year with seating activities where the students would have to work together in order to find their seats. Things like sitting alphabetically or by height. It was fun, the students were engaged and working together. Everyday before they came into the classroom, I would write the directions on the board.
My intentions were to do this the first week, so that I would remember the students faces rather than their desks. One day everything changed, a student walked into the room, immediately looked at the board and asked, "What are we doing today?" I remember wishing that the students would do this with my bell ringers. All they would do was sit in their seat and ignore the warm-up problems. So, I put the two ideas together and no one has ignored the problems to date.
As the students walk into the room, I hand them an index card with a problem on it. The students need to answer the problem in order to find their seat. I didn't think I would last this long with this idea, but a few things are keeping me going. The obvious, the students are finally doing the bell ringers without begin begged. Also, once I make a set of cards, I can use them over and over because the chances of a students getting the same problem twice are rather small.
The types of cards that I have are mostly multiple choice in order to prepare for the state tests. I write on the board that students are to sit in row 1 if their answer is A, 2 if B, etc. I sometimes instruct the students to get into groups so that each group has an A, B, C, and D.
I also have cards where the answers are an integer from 1 - 24 and then the student sits in the corresponding seat. OR if I have 24 students, I will tell them they need to sit in groups of four so that the sum of their answer is 50.
There are my logic puzzle cards. I try to find logic puzzles with 3-4 clues. Each clue is written on an index card and students need to create a group making sure they have all the clues within their group.
A few things I like about this idea are the flexibility and control that the students still have with this arrangement. If a students gets an answer of A and has to sit in the first row, he can sit in the front or the back of the row. And with groups, the students still have a little control over which group they form. I may say they all have to have different clues, but they have some say in it too.
I still have some students who complain, but I'd have that regardless. At least I have cooperation. I will work on the complaining next.