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Creative Grouping

lining up,

My students participate in many small groups throughout the semester. To learn to work in groups made up of different personalities, intellects, philosophies and learning styles, I divide the groups using a variety of ways:

  1. Students give birthdays. I write these on the board and then put closest birthdays together. I also do this with last four digits of phone number, house number, parents anniversary.
  2. What did you eat for dinner last night or breakfast this morning? Beef people form a group, pizza people form a group, etc.
  3. What color is your family car? Like colors work together.
  4. What color is your bedroom, bathroom, house, coat? Like colors work together.
  5. What career would you like to have? Like fields work together.
  6. Write a number on a piece of paper without letting anyone else see. Close numbers work together.
  7. When students enter the room, I offer a basket of different kinds of candy. Students selecting the same kind form a group.
  8. Students draw from a deck of cards which I have presorted with 3 kings, 3 queens, etc. if I want groups of three, 4 if I want groups of four, etc. Like numbers work together.
  9. Students wearing red work together, blues work together. One day stripes work together, plaids work together, boots work together, tennies work together.
  10. Students line up and I put the shortest with the tallest, next tallest with next shortest, etc.

When asking for student responses, I write the answers on the board. Because students might give false answers so that they work with a friend, I sometimes take the top student in each column to form a group rather than having all 'pizzas' work together. Therefore they don't know how I will form the group and I usually get honest answers. We find this a fun way to form groups and it helps students get to know each other.


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