The Power of the Seating Plan
The first step to differentiation is knowing your class and individual students’ needs well. Seating plans are excellent in helping you organise how you want to support students and to remind you of their needs at a glance.
Below is a photo of a seating plan that will act as an useful ‘heads-up’ for you and will help enormously any colleagues that might be visiting or observing your lesson. You will see it doesn’t need to be overly detailed or formal; if any more information is required, the seating plan will be the prompt of a further conversation between you and whoever is observing.
Key points that are easy to spot from this seating plan:
- Most students are on or above target (lots of yellow and purple)
- Most students with particular needs are mostly seated at the end of a row so it is easier for the teacher to support them as they circulate the room, especially if they are under-target.
- The teacher might want to consider moving Bodie and Bailey forwards as they are under-attaining, but only perhaps if bevaviour is a barrier to learning.
- Looking at the blue students – those under target – you should ask yourself: what are the reasons they are under-attaining at the moment? What interventions are in place to support these students if needed? And why is Frost seated there?! Might it be a good idea to move her forward soon or do you have a reason for her place there?
If you are a subject leader, it might be a good idea to have blank room templates set up for each of the teaching rooms in your department.
If you teach a practical subject that requires a lot of free movement (Dance, Drama, PE, etc.), it’s still possible to have a plan like this with a bit of organisation. It’s called…
The Standing Plan
(With thanks to Abbie and Laura in Dance for this brilliant idea)
Divide your teaching space up as if it’s a grid. Each student is assign a grid space and this is their ‘Home Space’. Each lesson starts in the Home Space and students also return there to sit when they are listening to instructions or working on written work etc. Again, this means, the students that may need more help are placed nearest to the whiteboard and/or the teacher at the front or side for easy access.
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