Many teachers keep those who need the most help at the front of the room and check in with them more often. A clipboard with a printed student roster is helpful to keep track of supports provided and the part that each student is working on. Here is an example.
Although some students may feel as if they are being punished to be assigned a front of the room seat, it is important that the teacher builds realtionships with these kids and conveys the message that they just want to help the student find success. As soon as they have figured out some strategies to help them become more self-directed, they will have more choices in where they sit. It is also important that the teacher does not make a big deal about where groups are seated to avoid embarressing anyone who is moving more slowly through the curriculum. The idea is to respect that we all learn at different paces and in different ways and provide student choice in where they sit.
Cari WIlliams is a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for the Tustin Unified School District in Southern California. She holds a MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Cal State Fullerton and works on the side as a consultant writing science and STEAM curriculum and training teachers. After working for 12 years in the classroom as a middle school science and STEAM teacher, she transitioned into the role of Digital Learning Coach in 2013. In this role, Cari helped teachers innovate curriculum and shift pedagogies through the integration of educational technologies and practices found within the NGSS. Her most current work as a TOSA is focussed on engineering design in robotics, computer science, and makerspaces. She is an official VEX Robotics event partner hosting tournaments for teams from around Southern California as well as leading 28 robotics programs servicing over 100 teams in the Tustin Unified School District. Although her expertise has taken her deep into STEAM education, she remains passionate and engaged in helping teachers transition to the NGSS through participating as a Science Peer Review Panelist for Achieve and acting as a Professional Learning Facilitator and Instructional Coach for NSTA.