"If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." --John Dewey

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Prepare for a Happy Class

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Yes, I know it's too soon to think about making your seating charts for the next school year.  After all, it will probably be weeks before many of us see our class lists.  But, it's not too soon to think about how you'll make your seating charts for next year, is it?

Invariably, the beginning of every school year brings with it many time consuming chores, one of which is designing and completing seating charts.  Now while the average Joe may think this is not such a big deal, those of us who face the task several times each year know all too well that it requires a lot more thought and effort than seems evident.  Many a pencil eraser has given its life trying to get the right student in the right seat, and while a lot of us have taken to seeking digital assistance, the perfect seating chart maker is still difficult to locate.  I have found one that works well for me, though, and while I immediately see that it's not going to be the perfect choice for every teacher, I'd like to share some info with you in case you'd like to give it a try as well.

Pin • Front • Back
Close to • Away from • Erase
Happy Class (http://happyclassapp.com/) is a website that will allow you to quickly and easily create and edit seating charts for your classroom(s).  The process is quite easy.  Create a room by clicking to add as many seats as you need.  Add student names by typing or pasting (I haven't found a way to upload a list--don't think you can at this point), and the program will randomly place students in seats.  Here's where it gets fun.  Click on any student's name and see a diagram like the one to the right.  This will allow you to:  • pin the student in place • move to the front of the room • move to the back of the room • position closely to a good partner • position away from a potential problem partner or • erase a previous partnership.  Don't have it quite right?  Use the refresh button to generate a new arrangement based on your selection for each student.  The site will even generate a "happy factor" so you can see how close you are to having a workable arrangement.

One of the reasons this program works well for me is that my classroom (computer lab) has a fairly standard seating arrangement that really doesn't change.  Seats are in straight rows, facing the front of the room--easy to set up at the Happy Class site.  There doesn't seem to be a way to create any other arrangement at the site yet, but since it is still in beta, that may be a feature that's still in the works.  And, again because it's in beta, you will need to request an invite in order to create your account and get to work.

What do you think?  Does this sound like a winner for you?  Do you know of a better, free seating chart generator?  There are certainly other options (superteachertools.com comes to mind).  Do you have a favorite?  Please let me know.  Wouldn't it be nice to provide seating chart resources to teachers as soon as they get a look at those new class lists?


  1. This sounds great - always a struggle with seating arrangements.

    Love your blog and have awarded you a blogging award. Check it out. http://teachingiselementary.blogspot.com/2012/07/blog-award-thank-you.html

    Hope you'll pass it along.

  2. LOVE this! I am bookmarking it! I change their seats all the time - so I might just go ahead and try it now. Thank you! Love your blog!

  3. This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!!
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  4. Happy Class has been awesome for those especially difficult classes. I wrote about it on my blog: http://cooltools.kubala.name/2013/11/29/automatic-classroom-seating-chart-maker/

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