Creating successful seating charts in the beginning of the year can be difficult, especially if you do not know your new students at all. I start by setting the desks up in the arrangement that I like. Since I have either 26 or 27 students in all of my classes, I decided to go with pairs:
I also worked out how I'm going to set up centers/stations:
The star is where I'll be seated. This way, I can see everything that is going on in the room at all times. The way that it is setup now means I'll need 4 different center activities at a time: one individual assignment, one partner activity, one small group activity (for groups of 3-4), and some practice problems for the group I am working with. I've never really run regular math centers in my classroom before. My goal is to have them at least once a week with each of my classes. The plan is to have them take place on the same day every week. This way, my first class can set the desks up and my last class can put them back in their normal places. I haven't gotten my schedule yet though, so we'll see if I can work it out that way. Last year, I had my two 8th grades for 80 minutes each and my two 7th grades for 60 minutes each on Tuesdays. A day like that would be perfect! Ideally, students would get to all 4 centers in one day, but I know that could be pushing it. I'll probably have a rotating schedule. (Still need to work out the details...anyone have any suggestions?)
Okay, back to seating charts...my students start school the Wednesday after Labor Day. They have half days that week, so I don't really see any class for an extended period of time. Typically, I let me students choose their seats those first three days. I would say that 99% of the time they sit with their closest friends...aka the kids they'll talk the most to throughout the year. I keep a close eye during those first three days and take notes. (Without even realizing it, they help me figure where they should be seated.) Over the weekend, I use my notes to create what I feel will be the most effective seating arrangement for each class. I have to say, it's been quite successful in the past. I get lots of groans when new seats are assigned Monday morning, but it's in their best interest!