The plan is that on the first day of class, I'll distribute name badges to each student and have them write their names on the badges (I'm thinking of semi-permanent name badges rather than simply stickers). I'd collect the badges at the end of each class. When the next class meets, I then randomly place the badges on desks in the classroom, thus gently suggesting where students should sit. I'd plan to do this before each class meeting.
So why go to this trouble?
- I'll learn students' names more quickly. Always a problem for me, I confess!
- This moves the students around so as to break up chatty groups. We all know how disruptive a few talkative students can be.
- This discourages those with, ahem, not-so-learning-conducive behaviors from congregating in the back of the class. We've been discussing these folks lately: the laptop-using, cellphone-abusing crowd.
- It mixes up the group work mix. When I ask students to work in groups, this will ensure that they don't always form the same groups.