Sandbox Seating

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6 thoughts on “Sandbox Seating”

  1. cool, but now all that “school stuff”…what is the rationalization for letting most kids in the class check out? I hope the observation went well, but I know of at least two jobs I’ve had for which this sort of thing would land me some meetings…not good ones.

    1. I guess it depends on whether or not they actually do check out. This could be very effective if the lesson was compelling enough to get their attention: the grumps would be on the outside looking in. If the story wasn’t enough to get their attention, they may just “check out.”

  2. I have one semi-circle. Everyone starts in it. I send excessive rule-breakers to a semi-circle behind us where they are supposed to observe and come back when they decide they are “ready.” I only need to do this with the 4th grade. But some of those kids who get sent to the back semi-circle continue to try to get negative attention. In other words, I don’t see this working for me, because the observers would be distractors.

    With older kids, just moving a student to a different spot in the front semi-circle does the trick, but my classroom conditions are probably not typical.

    I tried a point system (which I hate) and saw limited success, but I still didn’t have the key ingredient: genuine buy-in. Counting uninterrupted L2 minutes and making class running totals visible has for 2 weeks been the game-changer. We’ll see if it holds up.

    And would it not be social suicide to volunteer to be the five students starting in front? That could backfire. . .

    The beauty of acquisition is that the observers would still acquire so long as they are comprehending the input.

  3. Switching to a horseshoe-shaped seating arrangement where everyone is in the front row has helped me a lot this semester. My classes are smaller, 16 students, so the arrangement easily accomodates everyone. I really appreciate the comment that Ben made…it’s not about how many students are in the class, it’s about how many “jerks” are in the class. A few negative disruptors can really put a strain on any group size.

  4. “You’ve been disinvited from the story creation process.”

    This thread reminds me of my last period class this year. It is Spanish 1 but is a mixture of 3 “very cool” junior boys, and four very insecure/shy freshman girls. It has been difficult getting anyone to play the game. I am not sure if this tactic would work with them, but I would enjoy trying it in the future. Regarding the above quote, are the disinvited students required to sit quietly? Is there some explicit explanation as to what is going on and why? Or do you just do it? Do you explain to the non-players, “You are not in the sandbox. If you want to join the sandbox, we would be very happy to have you join us, but until then, sit there and be quiet!”

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