Today's post is a "reissue" of a post from two years ago--and the 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! Setting the climate for group work is critical from day 1--and I like to have a number of different ways to form those groups without wasting time on transitions.
I use popsicle sticks with student names to draw random partners and trios all the time, 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 numbers...so 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!
Want to try this without the hassle of making them yourself? Here is the link to the ones I use. Have fun with them!