I just had a brainwave as I was getting ready for work! I was wondering how I was going to get my group of young teenagers to sit with people other than their friends. Although the boys are starting to have an interest in girls, they still aren't very happy about sitting next to and working with them, but if I want them to work well and not waste time I am going to have to mix them up. I don't want to create a formal seating plan, and in any case, I would rather they changed places every lesson and had the chance to work with everybody.
The idea I have just come up with probably isn't a new one, in fact I've tried similar things with children in the past, but it combines moving students around and vocabulary revision (i.e. killing two birds with one stone!).
This is how it works:
Before the lesson, choose a topic that the students have been studying recently and make a list of words from that lexical set, making sure there is one for each student in the class. You will need two copies of each word. Then, assign each word to a chair. You could write or print out the word in large letters and stick it onto the back of the chair, or you could find a picture illustrating the word and stick that on or above the chair. Then, fold up the second set of words (these should be on small pieces of paper) and put them in a hat or box.
As each student comes into the classroom, they must take a piece of paper from the hat and find their chair. This will be their place for the whole lesson. If they are to work in pairs or groups, they will be with the person or people next to them.
You can do this every day. It will help the learners get used to changing place and working with different people and it is useful revision of vocabulary. If you don't want to revise that many words every lesson, why not use pictures of famous people like Myley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) or Cristiano Ronaldo?