Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/04/2012 -- If you are a new teacher then classroom management will be your primary concern. You need to create an atmosphere of learning and instil discipline in your classroom. One way of achieving this is to create class seating charts designed to minimise disruptions during the lesson. Seating charts are basically a map of where each child sits in the classroom and they can range from a simple paper based version to more advanced app versions. At the core of the seating chart is the pupils themselves, their name is an obvious requirement but you can go further and add their photos or even details such as SEN or their targets. By using their photos you can quick learn the names of the students in your class and this in itself provides a first step in managing your classroom.
However, there are additional advantages to using this approach:
By designating exactly where a student should sit you are instantly showing that you are in control of the class and asserting your authority over its members. This also reduces arguments about who should sit next to who, a good idea is stick to the seating plan and refuse requests to make changes unless they are educationally based (for example if a pupil needs to sit near the front because they have forgotten their glasses).
Behaviour issues are a big concern for new teachers so it might be worth discussing your plan with more experienced colleagues who can advise you which students will interact badly with each other. After a few lessons you may come to the conclusion that certain individuals are bouncing off each other and need to be separated so you should adjust your chart accordingly.
Another side to your planning might be on a basis of learning. Some pupils might be a positive influence on their peers and you should embrace this and take an approach of pairing pupils so that one can give in class support to the other. At a group level there is an option to have mixed ability or matched ability groups, this choice is very much down to the lesson content and the lesson outcome. The advantage of matched ability groups is that you can differentiate classwork easily and have groups of pupils working at a level their suits their ability.
Alternatively, mixed ability grouping might be suitable for tasks where a leader/organiser is required and the more able pupils can fulfil this role.
Special Education Needs should also be considered – in particular if your class has a designated Teaching Assistant. By grouping pupils with SEN you can make your Teaching Assistant much more effective and focused within the classroom.
Often the best class charts are colour coded and give an instant overview of the class, this is very useful if you are absent and a stand in teacher will be taking your place.
If you are considering moving on from paper based charts and require an easy to use, flexible and effective system then we suggest you take a look at http://www.classcharts.com which provides an ideal web based platform for you to quickly create, store and edit you seating plans.