It's sometimes a chore to figure out how to place students in cooperative groups. Do you, the teacher, do the exclusive grouping? Do you allow your students to make their own choices? Or do you simply randomly select groups?
I like to use all three techniques depending on the project, time frame, and general mood of the class (or me). When it comes to random grouping, I use several different methods: software program, apps, slips of paper, popsicle sticks, and grouping cards. This last method is my current crop of sixers favorite way to form their cooperative groups. I'm not sure what the attraction is, but it's evident from their faces and behavior that they really enjoy the activitiy. They especially LOVE to group themselves in silence while using the cards. Silence and a class of 28 sixth graders all moving about their classroom usually do not go hand-in-hand!
In the above video you see my sixers using a set of Halloween grouping cards. They have also used a set in celebration of Back to School, a set to form Literature Circles, a set with Biblical characters, and one decorated with images of cute zombies (yep, cute!). I like to change the cards with the seasons and holidays to keep them interested and spark their motivation. If you haven't tried grouping cards with your class yet, you might want to grab a set to implement in your own classroom.
I can't wait to share my newest set with my class this coming week.
Featuring the clip art of Sarah O'Shea of Edu-clips, my newest set of grouping cards contains colorful Quirky Turkeys and will help my sixers form flocks for cooperative learning in a fun way. You can read more about them and download them HERE.
If you have used grouping cards in your classroom, how have your students reacted to them? Do you have any tips or tricks for implementing them? I'd love to hear your ideas! Once you've left your comment, be sure to stop by Joanne's blog to read more ideas for Sparking Student Motivation.