One of my favourite math routines are seat finders. I use these right from day one, which gets students thinking and doing math before they even step foot into the classroom. They are low-prep, and easy to implement. The routine works as follows:

- Greet students at the door and hand them a playing card. They will need to sit at the table that corresponds to the number on their playing card.
- Inside the classroom, desks are arranged into groups of four. Each desk features a problem whose solution reveals that table’s number.

Below are some examples.

I like this version because students can support and help each other, especially for those that may experience math anxiety. In the past, I’ve created *individualized* cards for each student (i.e. no two students solve the same problem). Not only was this inefficient from a planning perspective, but I learned that even at a ninth grade level, many students struggled with basic order of operations. What was originally intended as a quick check for understanding had the opposite effect!

Here’s another version that minimizes physical contact and adheres to current social distancing norms. This one requires more preparation.

- Post your student roster outside the classroom, with column headers that include: student name, x-coordinate, and y-coordinate.
- Students must solve a quick check for understanding question (usually related to the unit in question or a mental math problem) in order to find their x and y seating coordinates.
- In a visible location in the classroom, include a seating chart that is mapped onto an XY coordinate plane (see below).

Click HERE if you’d like access to my seat finder activities for math class.

## Seat Finder Ideas for Other Subjects

This activity can be modified for all subject areas. Ideas include:

- Give students a vocabulary word (e.g. figures of speech for English class) as they walk in and have them match it to the appropriate definition or example
- Give students a word, phrase, picture or formula (e.g. velocity, acceleration, position) and have them match it to a correct overarching theme (e.g. kinematics)
- For younger students, matching pictures to words or pictures to pictures can work well (e.g. matching animals to their correct habitats)