I like to make my students sit in a semi-circle--I believe this kind of setting encourages communication in the classroom. On the first day of class, most people appear a little shocked to hear that they have to get up and sit in a way that they can see each other. Since they can't say "no" to the new professor on the first day of their new class, they have to move. They drag the chairs and talk to each other, try to figure out who is going to sit where.
Secretly, I love watching them making that decision together; I get to see how they interact with each other. They always begin as strangers, and they always progress as friends.
It never takes long for them to get used to this kind of seating. They would come into the classroom, move the chair to a semi-circle without any reminders, and sit in their favorite spot. Some classes even wanted to take their finals in this seating, said that they "love it too much."
One time, I noticed that the class was sitting further from me than before; and it lasted for a week. So I told them I have seen that they were moving away from me, and I want them to get closer to my desk. (In a very loving way, of course.)
I was stuck in the horrible H1 traffic one day, so I was running 5 minutes late. When I arrived at my classroom, I noticed that the door was closed. I pushed the handle and tried to open the door, and found that it was locked from the inside--and I heard giggles.
They locked me out of the classroom! Like a tardy student, I politely knocked on the door.
Then there was silence. About 30 seconds later, someone opened the door for me. I found my students sat in complete darkness (we had no windows in the classroom), and they have all moved their chairs and surrounded my desk. I could see that they were trying to hide their laughs and giggles.
"Very funny, guys!" I laughed and got to my desk, that's when they busted out in laughing. After we joked about this for a bit, they moved their chairs back to a more comfortable distance.
They told me I've been punked, I gladly accepted.
Loving the semi-circle seating,