Tips for Grouping Your Students

How many times have your seen snarls or looks of disappointment on your students' faces when you put them into groups for cooperative activities?  It never fails, they want to be with their buddy.  It's even worse when you have a King or Queen Bee.  Does your class suffer from Queen/King Bee Syndrome? The Queen Bee or King Bee is the most popular student in the class. Everyone wants to be his or her buddy.  While it is nice that this student is well-liked, it can cause trouble with the overall chemistry of your class when this happens.  I found some things you should try the next time you put your students in group.

This is called the fruit machine.  You can cut and paste your class list if you want to use this method. 

Some of the teachers who follow my facebook fan page gave me more grouping tips that I thought I'd pass along.

 Stacy Buckerfield Seyfang said that students won't argue with a computer about who is in their group when you use the Group Maker.

This app is called Stick Pick.  It cost $2.99.  Teresa Pritchard said that it sounds like the can is shaking when a student's name is chosen.

Loretta Phillips-Willman prefers to put her students' names on a keytag which is kept on a binder ring.  She keeps it on her wrist so it is always handy.

How do you put your students into group?

I am linking up with Katie @ Queen of the First Grade Jungle.  Hop over to her blog to find some great tech tips, lessons, and other great stuff that you can use to make your job a little easier.


M said...

Hi Michelle,
I enjoyed your post about grouping students. There were some very clever ideas I hadn't seen before. You inspired me a little with your ideas and your question at the bottom. I couldn't fit it all in the comment box, so I posted them on my blog. I hope you don't mind visiting.
I started it with a shout out to you! Thanks for the ideas.
:) M

M said...

Sorry Michelle, I just realised that I only gave you my homepage link and it might not take you to the right post. So here is the link for my post about grouping students. Sorry again.

Unknown said...

How I group my students depends on the task. For some task I feel ability has to be considered to avoid frustration for all. For those tasks I pick groups ahead of time. Sometimes I pick a stick out of the jar and let that person pick their partner. Sometimes I have them work at their table groups. This year I also going to try clock partners. I saw this idea on Pinterest.

anotherkrisi said...

I have multi-colored sticks, sometimes I just pull sticks, sometimes I group them by the color of their sticks. I also use different colors to write their names on their desk plates, so sometimes I group them that way. Have you heard of "Kagan" our school is big on using a lot of Kagan strategies.

Mrs. Whatley said...

I use several Kagan "structures" in my classroom, including heterogenous (mixed ability) grouping for table groups. I do homogenous reading groups, but heterogenous math groups. For discussion, they will partner up with either their shoulder or face partner at their table (my decision).