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I use my seating chart for much more than knowing which student goes where! After some observers visited my class on Tuesday and had some questions about what I kept writing on my clipboard, I realized that this is an important part of my instruction that I should probably put on the blog.

As you can see, I have a key at the bottom of the seating chart that explains all of the little marks and symbols that I make on the seating chart throughout the quarter.

What grades are informed by the seating chart?

I use the following marks to determine a student's citizenship grade for the quarter:

  • I write down a T or an A whenever students are tardy or absent, so I can see at a glance which students have attendance problems (we mark attendance online, but I don't keep a physical attendance record other than this).
  • I mark a D whenever a student is being particularly disruptive.
  • I write down an X whenever a student is not doing what s/he is supposed to be doing. I walk around the room at the beginning of every class to make sure that students have completed/are working on their bellwork, but I also circulate with my clipboard anytime they are doing an independent work activity so that they know they are being held accountable.

I use the following marks to determine one grade for the Listening and Speaking categories of each student's grade:

  • Anytime students are doing a listening activity that involves them listening for information and recording it, I put a + or - sign next to a letter L that I write in to show that they are proficient or below proficient. One example of such an activity would be when we are listening to a song and they need to fill in the blanks with the missing lyrics.
  • Whenever students are doing a speaking activity, I walk around and mark a + or - sign next to a letter S that I write in to show that they are proficient or below proficient. If they are doing exceptionally well, I'll write a star. If they are not working, I mark an X.

If the student has all plus signs and stars, they get an Advanced for Speaking or Listening habits at the end of the quarter. If it's all plus signs, it's Proficient. If they have a mix of plus signs and minuses, they earn a see the pattern. I am also careful to note if the student started out with mostly minus signs and recently has been earning all plus signs, because that shows that s/he was not Proficient, but is now, and the current state is what should be reflected in the grade. The students will have several other Listening and Speaking grades on their report cards for each quarter from more formal assessments, but this is a way for me to assess their abilities without collecting papers to grade or listening to hours of speech samples.

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