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Seating Charts | Posted in New Teachers

I teach third grade so I can only give an elementary perspective. I have always with the exception of one time assigned seating spots to my students. I always start the school year in desk pods usually four to five to a pod depending on how many students I have. This year I have 18. There have been years when I had to make quick adjustments because certain kids just can't sit together. I like the beginning of the year to go as smoothly as possible with setting expectations and instilling good habits. I do keep students who need more help or direction closer to the front but I mixed them up with other students so they don't feel singled out. I never seat students by learning ability. When I was in elementary school I did have a teacher who did this and I always felt bad for the lower kids because we all knew they were the lower kids. Unless we are doing state testing, I never put my students in the traditional rows. This is my least favorite way to set up a classroom.
The one time I let my students pick their spots was when I taught 4th grade. Overall they were a good class so I decided to try it out. It ended up with boys sitting with boys and girls sitting with girls. They promised me they would behave so I wouldn't change their spots. They were good for about 3 days and then I could see they couldn't handle it. Once I had them back in assigned seating they were back to their old selves. Don't be afraid to move kids if needed.


Brenda Velasco

Kindergarten activities | Posted in Early Childhood

I believe, especially with science lessons, that the students can help direct the curriculum through their natural interests. Begin a conversation about what they are interested in and make that into a concrete lesson. For example, Frozen is really big right now so make the natural connection from that to a lesson on snow and ice. Investigate how water can transform to these, find out what it feels like, learn about snow flakes, weather related to snow etc. If they are directing the lessons, they will be much more engaged and take much more from it.


Allison Shinners

Science Showcase | Posted in General Science and Teaching

I've seen many formats at Family Nights. Many parents may be unsure how to encourage their children in science. In additions to demonstrations or presentations, you could provide parents with take-away activities that they can continue with their children at home--seeds to plant, discussion starters, observing things in your neighborhood or backyard. Small door prizes such as books, hand lenses, garden starter sets can also be motivating. It might be helpful to invite community resource such as science centers, extension agents, museums, etc. to share the opportunities that are available.

Mary B.


Mary Bigelow

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