Putting students into groups can be done in many ways depending on the group and the task. Here is a list of a few ideas.
1. Ability – put students together based on their ability so you can differentiate learning (this could be based on your prior assessment or following a quick quiz in class) or create mixed ability groups for peer support.
2. Birthdays – group students by the month they were born so all December babies are in a group together – this may need some tinkering.
3. Classroom management – create groups where students who don’t work well together are kept apart.
4. Deck of Cards – hand everyone a card, you can then group by suit numbers, red and black or numbers versus pictures.
5. Interest – put into groups based on preferred genre of music or specific vocational interest or skills interest – e.g. all those who love reading, those who prefer writing, those who prefer learning by watching videos.
6. Jigsaw – divide a task up into sections. Form groups with each one having one section to complete (this could be reading a text and answering questions on it or writing/creating something). The whole group comes back together and pieces together the overall learning by discussing/presenting each section. You choose the groupings based on previous ability/interest depending on the task.
7. Randomiser – pick names from a hat; use an app; give everyone a number (1 2 3 and 4 if you want 4 groups) then tell all the 1s to group together etc.; line them up by birthday or alphabetically and then pick 1st 4 to go together into a group etc.
8. Student choice – allow students to group up as they wish. You may want some caveats – someone you haven’t worked with before, or not the person you worked with most recently.
9. Team up with the people nearest you.
Large Group Teaching:
This will work well with all group sizes.
Some of these activities will need extra thought to work online. You could choose the grouping (randomly or by ability etc.) and assign them to Zoom breakout rooms. (Zoom can also randomly assign people to breakout rooms).
Students have the opportunity to work with different classmates, creating more opportunities for group bonding.
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