On the first day of school or anytime you want to rearrange your clientele, greet them at the door with a smile and a playing card.
- Buy two decks of regular playing cards: tape one set of cards on the desks and place the other matching set in a bowl.
- As they enter your classroom, they pull a card and search for their match. Once they find it, they have found their seat. Once everyone is seated, walk through class checking their matches and collecting their “loose” card.
- Place all loose cards back in the bowl and later in class when discussing school supplies, draw a card and raffle off a pencil, highlighter, or notebook. The kids love it and you have seated them “by chance,” keeping them from clustering up with friends and isolating others.
- BONUS: You now also have an easy way to “choose” students by chance. Leave cards taped on desk and keep their partners in a can. Pull a card throughout the year for a “volunteer” or a game. The randomness of the cards ensures you will never be “picking on anyone.”
“Social isolation, which is especially risky for adolescents, can result from students being ignored, bullied, or teased and tends to flourish in environments predominated by social cliques” (Blum, 2005, p.3). With this simple exercise, these “cliques” are covertly broken, and you have proven you are organized and creative within the first seconds of meeting them.