How I plan my seating arrangement for my secondary classroom

Seating arrangements........dreaded topic for some. There are tons of different ways to create a seating chart out there-especially for elementary classrooms. What does one do in the secondary classroom?
I am going to give you my quick rundown on how I do a seating arrangement for my secondary classroom from Day One!

I DON'T! Crazy right!? I do not put my students into a seating chart or an assigned seat from day one. I stand at my door and greet them with a smile! I have a roster printed out on a clipboard and I ask them what their name is and check it off. I tell them to go sit wherever they want! My students look at me like I am crazy! "Like any seat?" I say "Yep!". Here is how I do it.

1. Print out a roster. 
If you have an attendance program (we use Infinite Campus) that will allow you to print out pictures with the names do this as well. This is how I learn names really quickly. I also am sure to change any names if a student goes by their middle name or a shortened version of their name. "Deondre" might go by "Deon", or "Elizabeth" goes by "Liz". Make those changes on your roster.

2. Stand at your classroom door! 
I cannot stress this enough. Back in my first few years of teaching I made a bad habit of using class change as a moment to get caught up with emails, organize papers for the next class, etc. Don't do this! Stand at your door and welcome your students with a simple smile and a "Good Morning Hayley!" On the first day, I ask students to tell me their name before they walk in.

3. Check off names on your roster.
This gives me a chance to make sure that schedules are correct and students are in the right room before class change is over. I make a simple check mark beside their name if they are present. If you have a student who is not on your roster. Check their schedule and try to get them in the right place before class change is over!

4. Tell students to sit where they want!
Why do I have students sit where they want? I explain after everyone is sitting down my reasoning. Now I know who they are friends with! I can see the groups that are naturally formed based on previous acquaintances. I tell them that I also like to sit with my teacher friends at staff meetings and events so I want them to be able to sit with their friends as well. Here is my main line I tell them: "It's fine to sit with your friends, until it's not fine...!"

If I have any problems with students talking when they are not supposed to or not paying attention because sitting beside their friends is something they cannot handle, then that student is moved to a new location. This has never caused a huge issue in my classroom. I have students tell me thank you for letting them sit where they want. You only have to make an example once if a student gets uncooperative. I use proximity control a lot when doing whole group instruction or guided practice. This eliminates most problems.

So, this is how I do it in my classroom!

How do you organize your students? Alphabetically? By ability? Let me know in the comments!

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