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 Developing…you 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.

23 replies on “Seating Chart

  1. I just came across your website through the FLTeach emails. I am intrigued and curious about your methods and procedures. I am always looking to streamline things and hold everyone accountable. I have a few questions about your classes, and the way you use your seating chart records….

    Do you really have 35 students in one class? I do, so I am curious how that works for you. I imagine your worksheet folders come in very handy.

    When you mark your various symbols, do you write the date next to the A/T; D/X; etc? I understand you teach middle school, so they may not be as apt to ask for specific instances of absence, tardy, disruption, etc. However, I teach high school, and I know they will look for specific instances if they are called out on any of these categories.

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Becky, Welcome! I DO have classes of 35 students…and it stinks! I do the best I can, and TPRS has really helped me. This may surprise some because students have to do a lot more listening, and often a management tool for large classes is just to keep them overloaded with worksheets (I’ve tried that!). I find that it works better with fewer worksheets for the reason to which you eluded, and that is that everyone is working together and not completing work at different rates. The worksheet folders are grade for those days that we are doing worksheets, though! On the seating charts, I mark dates for T, A, and D, but not usually for X. Usually the students whose grades are affected by their work habits have rows upon rows of X’s, and I’ve spoken to their parents about it multiple times, so there really isn’t a need to pull out specific dates. It’s just all the time. Let me know what other questions you have 🙂

      1. Thanks for your quick reply! Our first quarter is ending tomorrow. So, I am hoping to incorporate some of your record-keeping strategies for the next quarter (and hopefully the rest of the year), and see how that goes. I’ll try to remember to let you know!

  2. Hello,

    I, too, have just found you through the FLTEACH list. My sympathies on having 35 students/class. You say that you keep the marks on the chart for the entire quarter? How big is the chart? Or did I mis-understand something?

    As a substitute teacher I greatly appreciate it when teachers leave updated charts 😉
    For what it’s worth, I have often left marks similar to yours on the chart (in pencil, so it’s erasable)even when the regular teacher doesn’t ask for it. One code I often use is NFD–Not Following Directions !!

    Another question–the site says there are 4 comments, but I only found Becky’s, above. Do the pingbacks count as comments too?

    Thank you


    1. I usually use two charts for a marking period (I change it every five weeks or so). The chart is just on a piece of computer paper, and I make small marks 🙂 Because it gives me a clear visual of patterns of behavior and what not in my class, I *usually* address problems before I fill up the entire space under a student’s name with markings. And if it’s filled, I just pile it on. Either way, it’s pretty obvious that the kiddo has some issues!

  3. I like your seating chart uses, especially the codes for the substitute. I was wondering how large your classes are. I am concerned about getting around to all of my students when taking notes during interpersonal speaking activities. In Spanish I, there are usually 35 while Spanish II has 37-40. My Spanish 3/4 class is its own challenge teaching both together & this year I have 34 in that class. It’s this way because I am the only language teacher in the building. We have 900 students & 1 language teacher. It’s ridiculous.
    Thank you so much for posting this for those of us just now adapting to grading by proficiency!

    1. I had 35 students/class (at least at the beginning of the year–lots of kids moved away during the year). You might not get to every kid during every speaking activity, so try to be strategic. Work with half the class and mark their formative grades this time, and then work with the other half of the room next time. I am going to have mixed grade levels for the first time this year and I break out in a cold sweat whenever I think about it! I have sixth graders through seniors in one of my classes (33 kids and counting); some with no experience and some with 6 years of immersion! Yikes!!

      1. Wow. That is definitely a “yikes” moment!! I can’t imagine it. Why would they do that to a teacher? I will send very positive thoughts your way!!
        Thank you for the strategic ideas. I hate to let things carry over & not complete everyone at once but it is the only way to make it work.

      2. Why would they do that to a teacher? Cha-ching! or maybe , not enough “cha-ching” in the district coffers. I’m trying to decide if that is better than dropping a language entirely, which has happened around here (northeast Ohio) in recent years

      3. Scheduling trouble. I’m at a VERY small school, and the high schoolers that take AP English can ONLY take Spanish during my middle school class, so I told them to go ahead and do it. It will be an adventure; I’m confident of that!

      4. What a nice teacher you are!! Have the APs teach some of the younger ones once in awhile….Good luck! Let us know how things go!

  4. Did you create this document for your seating chart? If so, do you have it somewhere to download? I’ve just discovered your website and want to say thank you! I’m new to TPRS and have found it so helpful!

  5. Hi! I love your site. Thank you for providing such detail in your explanations. I have downloaded several of your packets and incorporate your ideas in my teaching. Your seating chart is very helpful. I especially like the codes. I had been using a code system but only to indicate which students had IEPs, 504s, etc. But that was the only way I used the chart. This year I will incorporate use of the seating chart in my teaching. Again, I want to thank you so much.

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