The Easiest, Most-Customizable Seating Chart and VRG Generator Ever™ #SundayFunday

Updated 9/4 to add easier specialized seating and an awesome “randomize” button.

UGH, this was SUCH a simple idea that I’m mad at myself for taking this long to figure it out. But at least I figured it out in time to share for #SundayFunday’s Teacher Hack week!

I needed to make a seating chart for a class that has a really weird seating arrangement-it’s two conference room tables mooshed together, so 8 students on each side, two on one end, and then a group of six at a different table. We skype with another teacher so I wanted to be able to share it easily with her and also make it easily randomizable so we could change it if we wanted. I tried some online options but it just wasn’t happening. But thinking about flippity and then doing a little googling led me to The Easiest, Most Customizable Seating Chart and Visible Random Grouping Generator Ever™.

Step one: Enter your names.

Step two: Make your layout. If you have group tables, but want to assign seats, I suggest making a border around the number of cells for each group. You could also just make rows/columns if that is how your class is set up, or make group names.

Then for each “seat,” reference a cell from your name column by typing =A1, =A2, =A3, etc.It should look like this when you’re done (I did an example of tables and of rows).

“Uh, Meg, hate to point this out, but those are in the same order as the list you entered. Not very random.”

Step three: Oh, did you want random? I’ll show you random. Click the little arrow at the top of the column and….

How do you like them random apples?! Project this at the start of class and, boom, you’ve got your VRGs right there! Randomize repeatedly as needed. You could also use this as a random student name generator, to assign partners, or OOH! even to randomly assign topics for a project (make a list of topics, then add the =A1, etc to column next to them).

UPDATE: Bonus Step Four: Mark Kaercher developed a script to make a “randomize” button. Make the students’ names white, press the button, and they will they are at Hogwart’s with all your wizardry.

Here is his post: and he includes the file to download and customize.

Complaints I’ve had about every other seating chart program:

“I’d like to put them groups” Ok:

(Ironically, there is not one corgi in the corgi group.)

UPDATE: Great suggestion, Michelle! Two birds, one sheet!

“But what if someone is absent/moves out of the class?”

Click the box with their name and use backspace to delete it (do not try to right-click and delete or cut), then randomize again. It will automatically put the blank cells at the end. If they’re just absent, make sure to undo it at the end of class (or you could make a duplicate sheet just for that day, then clear the name.) If you think you’ll use this option a lot, be careful about how you arrange the reference cells in your layout (do you want all the blank spaces in one group/column, or spread out in a row?).

“But what if I have students that have to sit at a certain spot?”

If it is in a specific chair, you could take their name out of the list and just type it in that location. Or, if you have multiple students that need to be in the same area (for example, 4 kids that need to be at the front and 3 kids that need to be by the ESL aide), group them together in the column and use the appropriate cell reference in your layout. Then, you can select each group separately and randomize that group.

UPDATE: Teresa McCarthy came up with a much better plan, put the students in different columns, then you can randomize all columns at the same time:

“I really wish there were more corgi pictures.”

Also, for those of you that already made this discovery, why did you not tell me?!?! UPDATE: Thanks for all of you that let me know I was not the last one in the world to figure this out, and thanks to all of you who took the the idea and ran with it!

Category: Uncategorized

11 comments on “The Easiest, Most-Customizable Seating Chart and VRG Generator Ever™ #SundayFunday

  1. THIS IS SO EASY! And Brilliant. And glad you trademarked it. We just moved from Power School to Illuminate and teachers have been emailing me frustrated at the limitations of the seating chart feature in Illuminate. I’m going to use this post to give them something to smile for all my responses to seating chart emails!

    • I’m pretty sure that soon I’ll be able to quit my job and live on the trademark royalties on be quitting my job. Ugh, the seating charts in school programs are the worst unless you sit in perfect 4×5 rows! Glad you get to spread some smiles this week!

  2. I’ve been putting off reassigning seats for a week because I didn’t want to take the hour or two to come up with a good seating arrangement and type it all up! Thank you!!!!!!!

    • You are welcome! I always put it off, too!

  3. I sent your post to my daughter (3rd grade teacher) yesterday, and today we sat down to create her ‘new’ seating chart. And when I opened your post again it had all the “new and improved” parts! Thank you,Meg, and also thanks to Teresa, Michelle and Mark!

    • It’s just keeps getting better and better, amirite?! Glad you’ve helped spread it to elementary! 🙂

  4. Intimidated, but I am going to it for Monday! I am in charge of my computer!

    • I believe in you, Amy!! You show it who’s boss! And let me know if you run into any snags!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *