Saturday, 26 April 2014

Getting the most out of my seating plan...

Being the first week back, it's the time of year when I change around my seating plans for each of my classes. I do this to keep them on their toes or to move certain individuals to more prominent places in the room for me to either provide additional support, or be able to keep an eye on them a bit easier etc.

However, each time I change the seating plan I have the same problem of what to do whilst they're all finding their seats and ensuring the best possible start to the lesson. I also want them to have something to be doing when they come in. Obviously, I can write a few questions on the board or hand them a starter task, but in the past it takes them a while to get settled and there's always a bit of a frenzy as they find out who they're sat next to/complain that they're not sat next to their best friend etc. Plus, for this lesson, I had prepared a starter task that was on my notebook slides that obviously couldn't be shown on the IWB at the same time as the seating plan.

So, in order to ensure my students had something to be doing as soon as they walked through the class door I decided to give them a starter task that enabled them to find their seat, whilst doing some basic Mathematics. Now, I'd done this before when getting students into groups or for randomly seating them, but not for getting them into specific seats.

I put, on my IWB, a copy of my seating plan, but in place of the students names I put the numbers 1-32.

Then, on the table at the front of the class I had slips of paper with each student's name on and a clue/question whose answer would tell them the number seat they were to sit in for this half term. I differentiated the questions for each of my students based on what we had covered this year and the level they were currently working at.

Here's the questions template:

The answers go from left to right and then down to the next row etc. These are cut out like dominoes with the name and clue on one piece of paper.

The good thing about this task is it got my students doing some basic numeracy as they were trying to find out what seat to sit in, there was a lot of enthusiasm as they pondered who they'd end up sitting next to too. I also found that some students would help others once they knew where they were sitting to find out if their friends would be next to them. Also, those that had initially got the wrong seat would be forced to check their question/clue when another student ventured toward the same seat.

There was then a really quick and easy way for me to 'mark' each of their answers and to check they had got their question right...I put up the actual seating plan with all their names on and said if you're not in the right place you need to check your answer! No-one needed to move (which also gave me an indication that I had pitched their individual questions well enough) I was then able to quickly move on to the proper starter I wanted them to do for that lesson and we were off...

I'll definitely use this again in the future and the questions can easily be adapted for different classes now that I have set up the names/questions template and the numbered seating plan.