A Reader Asks… Power Zone Problem Solving

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A reader sent in the following question concerning the Power Zone.

SC,
What do you do when there are so many students in the class that it is impossible for the teacher to move around the room?

SC Response An excellent question with a number of possible solutions and I’ll share a couple of them.  We see this dilemma on a semi-regular basis.  There are some ways to work around this, with a little flexibility on the part of the teacher.  Since you asked the question that means you are looking for a solution, which leads me to believe that the lack flexibility is not an issue.

Option #1: Remove furniture.  In a number of overcrowded classrooms, a significant contributing factor is the sheer volume of furniture in the room. I have been in rooms where over 25% of the floor space is occupied by extra file cabinets, bookcases and teacher desks. Yes, extra furniture is one of the few perks associated with being a veteran teacher, but once you run out of space identify what furniture you absolutely need and get rid of the rest.  

Option #2: Rotating seating chart. If all of the excess furniture has been removed and the room is still overcrowded then a rotating seating chart can work. Divide the students into 4 groups. Divide the room into 4 quadrants.  Then the students rotate through the room.  It’s not the best situation but it is better than students never moving and students purposefully putting as much space between you and them as humanly possible.  See the chart below.

Quadrant 1 Quadrant 2 Quadrant 3 Quadrant 4
Monday A Group B Group C Group D Group
Tuesday D Group A Group B Group C Group
Wednesday C Group D Group A Group B Group
Thursday B Group C Group D Group A Group
Friday Open Seating Open Seating Open Seating Open Seating

Just know that doing nothing is not an option.  The research is clear that the more time we spend in the Power Zone, there is a corresponding increase in on-task behavior, retention and appropriate student behavior.  

I hope this helps, if not let me know and we’ll come up with some other options.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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