It helps to change often so they are used to it and if they don't like their new assignment they know they won't have to wait too long to be reassigned. You can also make it fun, use cards or random number generator to make the moves and involve the students (you have to be ok with random assignment though!).
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If you opt to change seats, I like Lauren's idea of changing seats frequently. Maybe every other week? Either way, I would make sure that it occurred on a regularly scheduled basis of which they were aware.
Have you considered letting them chose their own seats with the caveat that if performance/behavior slips, then you create a seating chart as a consequence? I have found that if seat choice is a privilege that the students value it more and tend walk the line.
I change my students seats everyday. I have a set of class names and they are 'randomly' put out each morning. Sometimes students are with their friend and other times with another class member. I find this is a great system as students get better acquainted with all students - plus it helps those students who don't cope with change by doing it in a structured environment. It is also good because students know they will have a different person each day - so they don't have to be next to someone they don't 'like' as much for long. They are always excited when they come into the class - looking to see who they are sitting with. I also like to change the table arrangement regularly - as this is also a factor.
As others have stated, you should practice changing seats with your students frequently. Establishing a clear and consistent routine and modeling it frequently is perhaps your best bet to get them to cooperate. If your students expect to routinely change seats, with practice you will find that their transitions become smoother.
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