In the middle school I sat students in "pods" of 4 which worked out WONDERFUL
for classroom management. The tables were back to back (2 students directly
across from other 2), Perpendicular to my desk and the front of the room.
All students had to turn their head 90 degrees to watch my direction at the
front of the room. The video monitor was at the back of the room so they ALL
had to turn their heads 90 degrees to watch a video. I saw everyone! I saw
those who were good and those who were "naughty". I too encourage
interaction between my students -but only POSITIVE!
-I am now in the high school and my MULTI-LEVEL classes pose a much greater
challange. I had tables on end with 4 to a group- all facing the same
direction but that did not seem to work best for this age group. Second
semester, I changed the layout to one HUGE rectangle with adjacent
passageways and supply tables in the center. This was wonderful for
discussions as well as classroom management. Students had to adjust their
chairs for video's but that didn't seem to bother these kids. In the fall I
will try out the middle school "pod " thing again to see which is the best
solution for the high schoollers.
Kathy in Kalamazoo