Bright Ideas: Cooperative Name Tags!

It's time for another "Bright Ideas" link up! 

Today's "Bright Idea" is a simple one...and one I have done for years.  In my class, we do a HUGE amount of work in teams...teams of 2, teams of 3, teams of 4--and even bigger teams!  I use popsicle sticks with student names to draw random partners and trios, but I also like to have some "set" groups when I start the year to save time.  Here's how I do it!

When I make name tags, I create a system on them that allows me to instantly make groups of different sizes.  This year, I made it so I can do the following groups:

Name tag background color:  5 colors (so groups of 4 and 5)
Corner triangle color:  8 colors (groups of 3)
Dice color:  4 colors (groups of 6)
Dice number:  6 numbers (groups of 4)

Here they are for this year!  Bold, bright, and USEFUL!
This student is in the pink name tag group, the white dice group, the "4's" group, and the blue corner group!

In past years I have made name tags on different colored paper, added different stickers to the corner, used letters and I mix it up!  The benefit is that if you DO use these groups often, they become comfortable working with those groups of students...and it's a great way to have heterogeneous grouping for activities, lining up, or any time you want to have small groups.  All I have to do is call out "Meet with your dice number group!" or "Meet with your name tag color team," and the students know right who to work with--no class time wasted!

Make sure you check out all the other amazing "Bright Idea" posts below.  Grab yourself a cup of coffee and get comfy!   

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  1. Love how you did this! Question: How many of the combinations are assigned purposefully vs. random? How many in each group / how many groups per option? Do you have a way to keep track of who is going where?

    What I Have Learned

    1. Hi there! I do not keep track of who is going where, but as I am making them I start with the colored backgrounds and make those groups. I then make the colored corner so that there is a lot of diversity with colored backgrounds. In other words, if the name tag background is green, I make sure all the corners that have green backgrounds are different. Does that make sense? Otherwise there is no rhyme or reason because of my class students are expected to work with whoever they get put with. There's no dividing by gender or anything like that. Hope that makes sense!

  2. Do you have a template of the name tags available? I think it is a really great idea!

  3. This is brilliant, Meg! Thanks for sharing. I'm totally going to do this.

  4. Is the template available for purchase? I love this idea!