How Do Teachers Divide Students Into Groups For Collaborative Activities?

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The Collaborative Teacher and Her Classroom

With this unique teaching approach, transform education from inside the classroom…

Engage your students in a thinking curriculum – where everyone learns from one another, and no student is deprived of this opportunity. Welcome to the future of education – the collaborative classroom.

Collaboration is a key 21st century skill. This system enables students to learn and integrate all subjects like Mathematics, English and Science into their lives with group activities, including group problem-solving and group discussions. Here, students are not segregated according to predetermined abilities, achievements, interests, backgrounds, perspectives or any other characteristics. Segregation dampens collaboration and deprives all students with opportunities to learn from and with each other.

Teachers, who encourage collaboration in the classroom, often express delight when they observe the insights revealed by students they thought to be weak. Thus, shared knowledge and authority, mediated learning, and heterogeneous groups of students are essential characteristics of collaborative classrooms.

The benefits of collaborating with peers are many. The most obvious benefit is that the students themselves get to do the talking instead of the teacher. Groups of students with mixed learning styles promote greater collaboration. While planning a collaborative activity, the method for creating the groups must be decided in advance. Here are some creative ideas:

  1. Genre Groups: Divide students into groups based on the types of books, movies, music, or websites that they enjoy visiting. It is useful if the teacher gets this information from the students at the beginning of the school year.
  2. Find your partner: Write a number of sentences/equations that relate to your subject. Divide the sentences/equations in half (e.g., Roosevelt was…… a former US president or 4 x 8 =…… 32). Pass the sentence halves out and have students find the partner who has the completion to their sentence/equation. They will then work with this person during the activity.
  3. Group of the Day: This grouping strategy would probably work best if the teacher forms students into groups during the first few days of school. The students can learn along with the classroom rituals and routines. For example, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the class can choose to have groups of four. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they might want to have groups of three. The teacher can verbally remind the class on the specific day and the class would group themselves accordingly. The days, along with groups, can also be recorded on a chart outside the classroom door so the students know before entering the classroom the others they will be working with that day.
  4. Birthday Buddies: Teachers can have students line up according to the month and day of their birthday. The person(s) closest to their own birth date is their partner(s).
  5. Same Thumb Size: Students find one, two, or three students who have a similar thumb size.
  6. Wander and Wonder: Tell students to find someone who they don’t know well and to ask that person something they have wondered about them.

Implementing collaborative activities in learning are vital in today’s learning climate even though it may seem challenging due to time and space barriers. With the right strategies, group collaborations can enhance learning within the classroom and equip students with the skills they need to succeed in the world outside the classroom.


Like this article for teachers?

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