Grouping and Pairing Students to Improve Engagement (Part 1- Beginning of Class)

The social studies teacher on my team asked, “What site do you use to get your grouping ideas?”

To be honest, I’m not sure. I know that I subscribe to professional magazines, newsletters, and blogs.  I also spend more time than I would like to admit looking for good ideas on Twitter and Pinterest.  🙂  However, I can not point to one single place where all of my ideas come from. Many are simply things that I come up with on the fly. Others are hybrids of ideas that I’ve read about.

If I accidentally share one of your ideas…Please remember – imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

1. Index Cards – I love index cards.  They can be used in so many ways.  I like to hand them out at the door with instructions posted on the board. “Use the words/phrases/symbols on the cards to group yourselves in a logical way.” What I write on them depends on how I want to group the students:

  • pairs: synonyms/antonyms; cause & effect; riddles and answers; terms & definitions; state & capitol; picture & metaphor
  • small groups: lines from characters; quotes related to themes we are studying; characters and character traits; math problems with same solutions; colors
  • ordered lines: “I have…who has” (see post from Jan. 28); events related to unit of study; order of steps in solving an equation; order of the planets, events in a story

2. Playing Cards – Uno, Old Maid, regular playing cards…It really doesn’t matter.  There is just something so intriguing to students when you stand at the door saying, “Pick a card.  Any card.”

3. Dominoes – Practically indestructible.  One reason these are great is that you can group by: number of dots; color; sum of dots or many other ways.

4. Stickers – Kids love them.  Group by type, color, size, etc.  An added bonus is the opportunity for a quick hello with every student.

These are just a few ideas.  I would love to hear your suggestions.

 

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