Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Classroom Seating: Increasing Movement, Collaboration, and Easing Prep

IF you're reading this blog post, chances are you're pretty up-to-date with education today and some of the new things that are happening in the classrooms.

One of those is Flexible Seating.

My classroom does not have flexible seating. While I love the theory behind it, and I hope that my own children get to experience a classroom with flexible seating at some point in their education, it just doesn't work for my classroom.

And that's ok. What I have works for me. So I thought I'd share, cause it may work for you too!

One of the reasons we don't do flexible seating in my room is that we move around a lot. A set seating chart gets us started for the day, and many times we move from there. I have finally figured out a system of being able to quickly and easily move students from one place to another.

Each table group is given a colored label. On the label is a letter and a number. So now, each group can be identified by a color, number, and letter.  I hang signs from the much smarter than taping it to the desk like I used to do. Drove me crazy when kids picked at it. Now they can't :)  I then created cards out of construction paper and labeled them with a number and letter.

This allows me to quickly and easily get students into random groups all by handing them a simple card either as they walk in the door in the morning or as they are sitting quietly working on Bell Work. Then I just simply say....

"Move to your color group to play a vocab game over the terms from the Civil War."
"Move to number groups to read this diary entry from a soldier in the Civil War."
"Now to letter groups to create an acrostic poem with the word ABOLITIONIST"

Three quick movements, and the students have all the need for it with one card they get at the beginning of class.  TEACHER BONUS...I can "set up" at least one group by placing the cards of one specific letter or number at the bottom of the pile. I slyly pass out the cards from the bottom of the pile to students I have selected to be in a specific group and the students just think it's "random." What they don't know won't hurt them...but many times it helps them! :)

I have also split the class into two large groups for a competition review game by passing out the cards and having all the evens on one team and odds on another.  I try to vary when and what I do with the cards to keep the kids guessing. I have even been known to pass them out and then do nothing with them!

So many possibilities with colors, letters, and numbers.

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