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Zones and Seating Charts

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I learned this technique from Deann, who learned it from The Famous Linda D:

When you have a large class of youth, you will need a seating chart to help behavior issues. It's not mean -- it's positioning everyone so they can participate constructively. Daniel Roma teaches Seminary teachers that f you have more than five students, you need a seating chart.

Deann seats her students boy/girl/boy/girl. I have never done that, but I do require students to sit with their zone, which I rotate.

Assign students into Zones, or groups, of 3-5 students. This is a team that will compete in games together and participate in other activities as a group. One student is the zone leader. I use the zone leaders to represent the zone when selecting activities, they lead group discussions, they present for the group when we do a group presentation, or he or she may be the "nonmember" when playing Member/Nonmember. When giving instructions, Linda D says, "Zone leaders, give me a wink and a nod when you know what I'm talking about and can lead your zone." She also says, "Classroom management is about getting kids from being strangers to being a team." Splitting into zones is a good way to help that effort.

Linda names her zones cleverly: Cal-zone, End-zone, O-zone, etc. I just have numbered zones, or I call them by their leader's name: Emily's zone or Jake's zone.

I have found that zones make it much easier to keep students who talk too much apart. It also helps students get to know others in the classroom, and it gives leadership opportunities to shy youth. I also don't have to spend time on the logistics of separating into groups for group work, because students know to work within their zones.


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