I've been having problems deciding what information to keep on my clipboard and what to keep elsewhere. I've already gone through several permutations:
1) Keep attendance only
2) Keep attendance and write everything else down randomly near their names
3) Keep attendance and behavior
4) Keep attendance on clipboard, behavior on board (This worked very well once I listened to the other teachers and did this. During my student teaching I was at a school with such bad discipline problems that the students would walk up to the board and wipe their names off, so I was reluctant to try it here. But, as I am continuously reminded, this is NOT Student Teaching High School. Putting their names up has freed up my clipboard space, held them accountable, and helped me not lose detentions!
5) Keep attendance and write HW and Class Participation points randomly near their names
And now I am on Seating Chart Method 6.0. I needed the following things:
1) Desks with enough space to write their names
2) Desks with spaces for attendance, tardies, MP (hw) points, and Classwork points
3) Desks that would be identifiably rectangular and not square so they looked like my class (OCD)
4) Desks big enough to write on
5) Desks small enough to fit 34 on my 8.5"x11" paper in the right configuration
After spending way too much time playing with Microsoft Paint (yes, the free app that comes next to the calculator) I came up with the following possibilities for desks:
I chose one of the diagonal ones as the best for my purposes, and wasted more time (hey, its my fall break; if this is the most fun I have...) making a diagonal version. My problem is that I like the simple and clean bitmap format for things like this, but Paint has so few tools - for instance, it can only rotate 90 degrees. After spending a lot of time measuring with my fingers on the screen I hit myself on the forehead and remembered what I had realized last semester - I'm a math teacher!
In other words, if you want to make a diagonal of a certain length, you can make a circle with that radius and use any line from the center to the circumference. Again, I could have done it faster by relearning Fireworks or buying Paint Shop Pro, but I'm a geek like that. Math in action!
I then created my seating chart - 8 groups, 4 students per group, with two additional individual seats for students that want/need to be by themselves until a group activity begins (at that time they will have to pull their chairs to the nearest group if they want participation points for the day).
Finally, to make transportation and sharing easier, I inserted the above pic into a Word document and added my turtle crawling onto the page from the bottom left corner.
The top boxes are for attendance every day of the week. If they are absent I mark a slash from the top right to bottom left corners of the rectangle. If they show up late you modify it by adding a line from the middle of the rectangle to the bottom right corner (so it looks like a sideways skewed "T" for tardy).
The two diagonal areas are for classwork and homework points. During bellwork I go around and check More Practice (my term for hw) and give them 1, 2, or 3 points and write that numeral in the first triangular section. During classwork I use the second triangle to deduct 1, 2, or 3 points if they are off-task. At the end of the day I can (theoretically - let's see how this works out!) quickly input these grades into Easy Grade Pro.
2 examples (1 absent student, 1 tardy student):
All these pics, and the Word document, can be found at the Sines of Learning Document Page. They are licensed under a Creative Commons non-Commercial license.
Great Classroom Action
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