So we know from the first blog post in this series on norming the class that the first day Big Circle, indeed the first few days of class, ferretts out friends who try to sit together, and then we, as soon as we see that, act on it. By the way, these logistical things that appear here are obviously not directed at experienced teachers, but to new ones. It makes my heart very happy to think that this blog is helping younger teachers, because the field of education is almost insane right now.
To start things off re: seating charts:
1. I will do an alphabetical seating chart. This is mainly to be able to see who is absent without calling roll. The only day I will ever call roll is on the first day. Now, the seating chart must be used to save time. If a desk has no one in it, I find the square on the chart corresponding to the absent kid, and mark it and I’m done calling roll. I know most of us know this trick, but I never heard of it in my 1st 24 years of teaching, which pisses me off greatly, so I mention it here. Infinite Campus allows us to set up seating charts as well. And always have the photos there, too.
2. Herman and Kevin, my two talkers from the Big Circle, and any other offenders from the first day, will definitely NOT BE ABLE TO SEE EACH OTHER in class. My classroom has twenty kids facing twenty kids and I go up and down the middle. So Herman’s seat, not alphabetical, will be in the back row near the door, and Kevin’s will be in the same back row but separated from Herman by about five other kids between them. Kevin’s gaze cannot meet Herman’s unless they crane their necks at the same time and look past the kids sitting in between them. Herman and Kevin cannot see each other. Out of sight, out of mind.
Thus, we can add to our philosophy of pre-emptive strikes using seating charts, each time that it becomes clear that there is a problem with kids talking to each other in class, we move them. Simply change the chart by changing a quiet kid with one of the talkers. Right there on the spot. Just stop the class and do it. Don’t be afraid of embarrassing them. Any kids who is that rude, rude enough to talk during your class, deserves a little embarrassment. Frickin’ do it.
And take the cell phones too. You will regret it if you are letting that stuff float right now. I know, it’s hard. We have to find, locate, and use our own personal power to be teachers. So do it or be owned by a bunch of hormone cases this year. Those are your two options. Wonderful hormone cases, to be sure, but hormone cases nonetheless.
If we don’t stay on top of this and keep changing the seating around as described above, we might as well forget TPRS – it won’t work. Man up and do it and keep doing it all year.
The Problem with CI
Jeffrey Sachs was asked what the difference between people in Norway and in the U.S. was. He responded that people in Norway are happy and