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Friday, January 8, 2016

Flexible Grouping Strategies: Part 1

This semester, one of our school focuses is upon flexible grouping strategies. Prior to the kids returning to school, we had half a day of professional learning focused on different types of groups and grouping strategies to use in the classroom to meet the needs of all students. The expectation was for us to immediately implement what we learned. So I am jumping to it as I am always up to a challenge. 

All teachers have also been expected to readdress class and school rules this week, especially those that have been trouble spots for us this school year. Most teachers have been giving students handouts and having conversations about them. Not me! We are writing skits that we are going to film and share. 

For the latter half of the first semester, I had not rearranged my student groups. Today, I found a lesson in which to incorporate the flexible grouping strategies. At the beginning of the school year, I used a grouping strategy using play cards. Today's strategy was a variation of that one:
  • Desks were arranged in groups of four. 
  • On each desk, I taped a playing card suit.
  • For each group, I taped a card number (9, 10, J, Q, K, A).
  • As students arrived at class, they choose a playing card. 
  • Students found their assigned number and suit, creating random groups. 

The card suits were for this particular strategy. The A/B signs are for a partnering activity.

Although there was some initial grumbling about who was working with whom, I only had one group out of five classes that struggled to find a working relationship. Everyone else took a few minutes to find their groove, and once they got started, some great ideas started pouring forth. I am anxious to see where we end up with the final products next week. 

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