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Draw the line

Ages 4 to 7

I would constantly ask pupils to sit on the carpet quietly, instead it would take them ages to decide who to be near to, where their friend was sitting and conclude that they didn't like who they were next door to.

After wasting the best part of a literacy or numeracy lesson, I decided to make a seating plan (sounds a bit formal but it actually works).

I drew it up, deciding who could sit next to whom. Obviously this was the perfect chance to separate Billy and his friend Bob.

Five lines each consisted of six children. The children were told what line they were in and to look at the person next to them and remember that this was their carpet space.

I put the noisy and disruptive children at the back, where they would gain least attention, as all of the children were looking to the front and at me.

Wow, it was a different class. They loved competing against the other lines - who could be the straightest line and who was the quietest.

I then used the lines to send children to lunch (line 2 is the quietest, they can go to lunch first). It works brilliantly

Natalie Dowse is a primary teacher at Swingate Infant School in Lordswood, Chatham

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