It is extremely important that your students have assigned seating on the first day of school. It helps students to feel at ease because they are not left worrying about where they should sit or whether or not anyone will want to sit near them, and it sets the precedent that you are in charge of your classroom. It is easy to let structure go as the year goes on, but it is nearly impossible to put it into place if it has not been there before.
Now, to make it a little easier on yourself and a little more fun for your students, you can try using my method, that doesn’t require me to create seating charts until the students have stopped shifting between courses and my roster is set…you know…second quarter haha!!
I use cards of assorted colors with different fanciful creatures on them to “assign” seats to students on the first day of school. I print two sets of cards: one that I hand out at the door, and one that can be taped to desks. Students are handed a card at the door, and they must sit at the seat that has the identical card taped to it. (For example, if they are handed a pink unicorn, they must sit at the seat with the pink unicorn taped to the desk.)
Since there are only six different creatures, I print them on six different colored pieces of paper so that I have 36 unique cards (enough for all of my students–if I’m lucky!). When I print the sets, I print two of each color so that I have one for the teacher set and one for the desk set. For 36 students, that means making 12 copies of the Character cards for seating (2 copies of each of six colors). The cards are a free download in Spanish and French (thanks to Lisa Brown for translating!), and they are available as pretty PDFs and slightly-messy-but-editable Word and Pages files. I chose these characters because they are all cognates (except fantasma…I couldn’t think of another fanciful creature that is a cognate–boo!), and they are fun for the students. DOWNLOAD THEM HERE!
After the first day, you can use these cards to form groups for any activity. You can use just one of the sets and ask students to get into color groups or creature groups, or you can use half of each of the sets and ask students to find the other person with their exact match. I laminate my set of cards so that I can re-use it each year and throughout the year.