Two last things before I start to talk about my actual teaching experiences.
One is seating charts. I definitely was in the mind set that I was going to change the desks around into a new configuration and make new seating charts. The type of desks I have would NOT fit in any other format than the groups of four that were already in the room. They almost worked as single desks, but I think the kids need to be next to a peer for group work that will happen often, and it was almost impossible to walk around the room with the single desks.
I ended up keeping the desks as they were for the first 2 weeks I was in the room, but did make a seating chart so that I could learn the students’ names. The easiest way for me to make a seating chart is to go through these steps…
1. Get the desks in order IN THE ROOM. You will make the perfect seating chart for all six of your classes and then go to arrange the desks and…. they don’t fit they way you planned. Put the desks in order and draw a quick sketch on a piece of paper.
2. Go to Microsoft Word. Instead of making fancy shapes first, just make text boxes to make the desk layout. This is the easiest for me. Then I can save it as a blank seating chart and quickly type in kids names on the document. Its super easy to switch names around as you create it. When you realize Michael won’t be able to sit next to James, you can easily rearrange them without having to erase on a hard copy.
3. Save and print! I usually project mine onto the board the first two days of the new seating chart so kids can remember where they sit.
I’m still trying to figure out a way to have their names on the desks. I’m toying back and forth between small name tags taped/Velcroed onto the desk or writing their names on the desk in permanent marker (our desks are whiteboard kind of material so permanent markers would be set on there, but I could wipe it off with rubbing alcohol)
The other thing I wanted to mention was a spreadsheet that another teacher sent to me. It is to track student test scores. Not only is this great for students you are worried about failing standardized tests, but for students you are worried about failing your class. Our district resets grade books every six weeks. Instead of having to print out my grade book every six weeks and then having to dig through those to find a specific student’s test scores, this makes it quick for parent conferences.
The basic premise is to put in a student’s name, class period, and their test scores. However, as you add each test in, you must make sure you change the “Number of Tests” at the top of the spreadsheet. Otherwise, the grades will not be averaged correctly.
We in Texas have TAKS, so there is a section for that, but just change it to your standardized test! The other thing is the T1 T2 T3 are the tests, and have a small box below for you to code what test it is. The other is CBA, our Curriculum Based Assessments. These are end of the quarter district-wide tests that the students take and offer a good guide as to how they are understanding content in the class.
Hope these help you out!