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3 Tips on Creating an Effective Seating Chart

Sep 21, 2023

We’ve all done it… We’ve had moments of “Seating Chart Glory”… and THOSE times when it seemed near impossible to make a seating chart work for a specific group of kiddos! #Ugh

After a decade of teaching “in the middle”, I’ve been tested when it comes to seating arrangement and student placement… and this is what I’ve found…

3 Tips on Creating an Effective Seating Chart

1. Misery DOESN’T Love Company

Don’t INTENTIONALLY make students “miserable” or “quiet” by seating them next to another student who is the complete opposite of them.

A student that loves to collaborate with others is going to feel isolated and discouraged when placed next to a student who doesn’t speak and/or even acknowledge their partner. A student who struggles to read is not going to magically strike up a conversation with the class “book worm” about the most recent book they just couldn’t put down.

You’re better off trying to seat students next to others that can “meet them half way”. I’ve got a blog post in the works that goes deeper into what that looks like!


2. Start What Your Students Need/Prefer

Always begin building out your seating chart with the students that have specific needs FIRST. This may seem obvious, but I challenge you to add another layer when assessing the needs of your students: Student Preference.

I’m not talking about letting the “chatty Kathys” choose to sit in the back. Rather, I always give my students a Back to School Survey on the #firstdayofschool and one section asks them specifics about their learning environment preferences (aka seating preferences, etc.).

When students are comfortable in the general area that they are seated within a classroom, they experience increased academic performance and have a better overall classroom experience. Find my Digital Back to School Survey by clicking on the link. 


3. Don’t Have Students Stand and Wait to Be Called to Their New Seat

I’ll admit it. For years, I would have all my students gather their things, go to the back of the room and awkwardly wait for me to call their name and point to their new desk. DON’T DO THIS.

I could go on and on about the disadvantages of this method, but it increases student anxiety, can tear down classroom community and cause students to shutdown the minute they arrive at their new seat.

INSTEAD, have the new seating chart displayed as the students enter the room and teach them how to independently find their new seat. I like to have an independent activity at the ready for them once they arrive to their new seat so I can help those who are struggling and it eases them into their new environment with very little risk! Having them make a NEW table tent that will help them get to know their new neighbors is a great way to do this! 

Don't forget to follow Ms. G on Instagram for MORE!  

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