Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.
And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.
- Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
- Who doesn’t even know who to request?
- Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
- Who had a million friends last week and none this week?
You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.
Super inspiring right? Here’s the great thing. I’ve created a quick and easy to use pdf to help you analyze this information quickly. I find when I have a worksheet for something like this, it’s easier to quickly look over the material. The faster I can determine who needs attention, the more time I have to reach out to them and help guide them.
I created the pdf to be cut into fourths. Each quarter of a page looks like the above image and should make it easy to identify. I only included 3 spots for people to sit near because most often, my students work in groups of four. Having them choose 4 students confused them when I tried doing this last year.
Each week, copy this onto different colored paper. I keep them from week to week in a file to reference. It’s useful to have sorted by student for parent conferences. When I need to meet with a parent, I can quickly look at the student’s seat requests, which reveals a lot more than you’d think.
I also track the information on two of my blank grade sheets, and keep that in a separate file to easily track changes. Each time a students is requested as a seat partner, I put a tally in their box for the week. When a student has several tally marks one week, and significantly less (or in some cases, none) the following, I know that I need to call home and check on the student, and I’ll set up a quiet conference with the student at the beginning of the next week to check in with them and see if everything is alright.
Keeping an eye on the whole student becomes a lot easier with this amazing method! Hope this helps you out!