Monday, October 5, 2015

How to Change Student Seating Without an Achy Breaky Back

Happy October! How can that be? September flew by and I still have not caught up! But I'm checking in today to talk about changing students seats. In my classroom, I use Kagan seating groups of 4 or 5. Each student has a shoulder partner and a face partner. We use collaborative structures in all academic areas, so kids are working together a lot. I used to dread having to move students around when they grew tired of each other or when I felt that they needed new partners. Moving desks made my back hurt and even worse, it seemed to totally disrupt the class. So noisy, but necessary.

Now, I move my kiddos every 4 weeks to keep partners fresh and give everyone a nice change. How do I do it?  Students move, not desks.  In order to reduce the trauma, I announce "Moving Day!" and everyone clears out their folders, pencil boxes, and any personal items - but leave the textbooks. They stack their stuff on their chair and wait until I tell them where they are moving. They get so excited! Plus, they know that if they don't like this seating assignment, it's only for four weeks. This fact seems to reduce the struggle to get along with a possibly difficult partner and sometimes the new partnership turns out better than they thought.

This is a win-win situation. I don't have an achy back and the transition is pretty smooth - with zero racket.  So, the next time your students are getting on each other's nerves, just announce "Moving Day!" and give everyone a new location! You'll be pleasantly surprised at how the whole atmosphere and attitude changes.  

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