Core scripture: “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25)
Message: Do you ever feel like the meme above? Making a seating chart for some classes is like creating a battle plan. You never know which landmine will go off at any given time. There is no secret to this one. No perfect solution. There are, however, several factors that we should consider when creating a seating chart. What I try to do is think of the different roles kids play in my class and put them in places where that role will help them succeed.
- The “I can’t see” kid: No choice here. These students have to sit up close. The last thing you want is a kid squinting from the back of the room at your whiteboard. John 9:25 says, “I was blind, now I see.” Let that be lived out through them.
- The mentor: This student could be a child of good character or academically gifted. Sit them next to someone they can take under their wing. These kids are leaders. They are caring. And they can be an asset to push someone else to the next level.
- The behavior kid: These kids crave attention. They can also bring others down, so I try to spread them out. Isolating them might work best or placing them next to a buffer child. Sometimes if you find the right mentor kid, that can work towards the positive.
- The buffer: These are your introverts. The ones who focus on their work and keep to themselves. I might put a buffer kid next to a talker to quiet them down. You can really place these kids anywhere where they might be needed. My high flyers always get put on the chart first.
- The class clown: Since they crave attention, I try to put them in corners where little distraction is around them. Putting a buffer kid next to them sometimes works to limit distraction. A mentor might also be good to sit next to them to be a positive influence.
- The bestie: I used to think that best friends should be placed in opposite corners. If they are introverts, it actually works well to put them together. They feed off each other. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that “iron sharpens iron.”
- The SPED kid: Your slower learners benefit from lots of factors. They need easy access to a paraprofessional—if you are blessed to have one. The closer to the front, the better. Mentors can also be useful in guiding these kids toward academic success.
- The middle of the road kid: These are your B to C students. Your plain average kids. They can succeed next to a mentor or play the role of mentor next to a SPED child. Be careful about putting them next to behavior kids or class clowns. The negative peer pressure could bring them down.
Obviously, when you weigh all these factors together, creating a seating chart feels like the 90 million things you have to remember during a golf swing. Try to keep it simple. Ask yourself where each kid would work best. Build classroom camaraderie. After creating a new chart, it may be a good time to try a team-building activity to loosen kids up. Through it all, do not forget to communicate with the Lord in prayer. He always knows what is best.
Challenge: Spend time in prayer before creating your 4th quarter seating chart. Ask God where each student can function best in your classroom.
Prayer: Lord, I pray for Your wisdom in putting my students in places they can taste success. Amen.