In the past I had tried a grouped arrangement like this, but...it NEVER lasted long. I always had to separate kids so that they wouldn't talk or become distracted. Using the Teach-Ok has been a key change in my teaching style. I no longer try to separate all the students to minimize talking. On the contrary, the students now have partners so that they CAN talk and talk a lot, within the system!
At first I had all the students turn their chair to the screen when teaching whole group. However, in this arrangement I realized the partner closest to the board would have to turn around during the Teach-OK. This was especially challenging if they were trying to refer to info on the board as they taught. So we came up with a procedure to change that. I tell the class to sit "shoulder-to-shoulder, facing the board." That is the cue for the class to move quickly while we all count down "5-4-3-2-1!" By "1" everyone has scooted their chair shoulder-to-shoulder with their partner, eyes on the board, ready to learn. Teacher heaven!
WBT Intern, 2011-12