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Playing Musical Chairs April 18, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Teaching.
Tags: , , , , , ,


Student art in the style of Miro. I believe the girl really did poke her eye out! Or maybe it was just her annoying neighbor.

It’s that time of year.   With all the yakking and smacking (gum, rubber bands, and pencils that is), I need to move some kids around. But my students sit at tables for two, so anytime I move one kid, it has a domino effect.

It’s also that time of year when students learn to write a persuasive letter. So if a student wants to switch seats, they have to persuade me. Over Spring Break, I ran across letters students had written in years past, which cracked me up. I gave them a few tips on how to be tactful, and was pleasantly surprised at the results. Please bear in mind some are English Language Learners. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Dear Ms. M,

May I change seats please? Because Ricardo steal my pen and every day Ricardo say “Can I have your pencil?” and “Can I use your sharpener?” I want seats by Anthony.  Because Anthony he can help me, and I can ask to him. Most important Anthony has own pencil.

Dear Ms. M,

I would like to change seats please.  The person next to me talk to much and they are very bossy. That is why I want to move. The person is N and she tells people to do this and do that.  She’s telling me what to do write now. If you move me then I will work harder and help people in need.

Dear Ms. M,

May I change seats please.  The person sitting next to me talks all the time so it is hard for me to focus when you are talking about all the really important stuff.  He is also a big boy so he takes up a lot of leg room.

All three students got to change seats. But then they got to learn an English idiom – The grass is always greener.


1. Bev from england - April 19, 2010

Oh bless id defo wanna move if the person next to me is N lol 😛

all good fun and summer break will be here before we know it !


Bev – N was a piece of work (as many N’s are :)). She drove everyone crazy. Anyone sitting next to her should have received hazard pay. Unfortunately, teachers often sit the most well behaved students next to the worst, hoping they can tune out the bad behavior. That’s your reward for being good! Jan


2. Janelle - April 21, 2010

Love it! Kids are so great — they use honesty when trying to be persuasive, and I noticed that none of them said, “Please move me next to my best friend so that we can laugh and goof off in class.”

Glad you have a clawfoot too! Aren’t they lovely?

Janelle – We have a very small clawfoot. But when we went to Renovation Hardware, the same bathtub (with the claws painted silver) was over $1000!

I’ve had a couple of kids who realized their best friends actually distracted them. Then there are those students who complain about everyone else without realizing they’re just as annoying as the students they’re complaining about. I have some students who ask who wanted to sit next to them. I don’t have the heart to tell them that no one did. 😦 Jan


3. Catherine Sherman - April 23, 2010

This made me laugh so much! I loved the kid who wanted to move away from the bossy person who was telling her what to “do write now.” And that was a great touch in saying she’d help people in need if you moved her!

My son asked to be seated in the corner (fourth or fifth grade) because he couldn’t stop talking to people. Maybe he also wanted privacy to play games on his calculator under the desk, too…

Catherine – Three years ago I had to request six individual desks as I had SIX students who couldn’t sit next to someone without literally poking their eye out. I referred to the students sitting at desks in far flung corners as “satellites.” I’m still suffering PTSD for THAT year. Jan


4. Tina - April 24, 2010

Since my classroom is the old woodshop barn, I’ve been considering reactivating the remnants of the old block and tackle pulley system. I envision all of my students wearing harnesses so that I can quickly attach and hoist upward anyone who is a distraction to themselves or others. I could possibly automate this system, streamlining my efforts, and just use a remote control to whisk them up into their time-out. Oh, the visions.

Tina – I see a MacArthur Genius Grant in your future! Jan


5. shoutabyss - April 26, 2010

That is a fantastic piece of art!

Sounds like the children are getting a wonderful head start on understanding the world of business and having a job. 🙂


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