Organizing Students by Terra Graves

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Oct 21st, 2013
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Colorful chairs

Part of a well organized classroom is organizing the students. You never know what kind of classroom you will get. The arrangement of students’ desks can greatly impact their behavior. Here are some tips to help you with student seating and organizing.

  1. A good way to start the year is to have the student desks in rows. Then you can get to know the kids before grouping them.
  2. If you decide to put your students into cooperative groups, start with groups of two or three. The more students in a group, the more talkative they become. Remember, you can change your room arrangement as often as needed depending on the needs of your class.
  3. For elementary grades, if you are lucky enough to be in a newer school, most likely your classroom will have built in cubbies for students to put their things. Teach them to be responsible for getting what they need only at transition times.
  4. Number the cubbies with a permanent marker. Assign each student a cubby with his or her number. Place all textbooks into those numbered cubbies before the first day of school.
  5. If your school does not have cubbies, you can make them yourself out of cardboard boxes or plastic crates, depending on your space.
  6. In the upper elementary grades, you can start training the students to use the cubbies like a locker in Middle/High School. Have them keep all of their textbooks in it and only allow them to pull out what they need at certain times.
  7. Students should keep their binder and pencil box in their desk and all books in the student cubbies.
  8. Put a nametag on each student’s desk to help you learn their names faster, and aid in returning papers.
  9. You may want to number your desks or chairs to correspond to student numbers on an alphabetical class list. For middle and high school grades, you can use a seating chart for each class period.
  10. You need to find out how your school likes the chairs placed at the end of each school day. Some schools like the chairs on top of the desks; some like them stacked.  Be sure to have your students put the room the way it is supposed to be at the end of the day.  This is not your job – it’s theirs.

© Terra Graves. Terra is an educator in Reno, Nevada. She has been a classroom teacher (elementary and middle school) and a mentor teacher (K-12). She continues to educate teachers through professional development courses and is currently the professional development coordinator for the Nevada Pathway Project, a technology integration project for middle school teachers across Nevada.

Terra is the author of Organized Teacher, A Guide for Beginning Teachers, and 102 Classroom Set-Up Tips for the Organized Teacher.  These items are available for purchase and immediate digital delivery at Teaching Just Got Easier.
Follow Terra on Twitter: @teachingeasier

And if you want to get your current semester organized or prepare for the next, I highly recommend If You Do Nothing Else This Semester. With the strategies I present you will get the strategies you need to not only have a successful semester, but a successful year.

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