Thursday, July 17, 2014

Managing student groups

About two years ago I went to a Kagan training seminar.  We learned lots of strategies to make cooperative learning work. This is a variation on one of the strategies.

I arrange my students' desks into tables with 4 students at each table whenever possible.  To make group work most productive, I try to have a high, middle high, middle low, and low academic performer at each table. The high student sits beside the middle low student, and the low student sits beside the middle high student. At each table, every group member is assigned a season. For my own information, I make all the high academic performers the same season etc.




When I only need one group member to get papers or supplies for the group, I can spin my season spinner to choose one member from each group. (Sometimes I just go with a "season of the day" policy to skip the spinning step.)

If a group needs a leader, I choose one season to be the leader.

If students are sharing information or need to take turns in an activity, I can choose a season.

If I ask the table to discuss a question and come to a consensus, I spin to determine which group member will share the group's idea with the class.

Since the seasons always go in the same order, the procedure for when a group member is missing is easy to remember. If spring is missing, then the next season--summer--would fill in.  If I have to have a group with 3 seasons, they would use this procedure to figure out who's turn it is, or I would just assign one student two seasons.

I added a number under each season, because we also work with just partners quite a bit. For partner talk, I spin a more/less spinner to determine who will go first (or whatever I'm trying to determine.)

If you'd like to give this strategy a try, you can get my desk plates and spinner template for free at my TPT or TN store. Don't forget to leave some feedback love.  I hope you'll follow my store while you're there!

I would just love for you to follow me on blog lovin'! I'll be participating in a fantastic giveaway opportunity in a few weeks that you won't want to miss!

Read more great ideas about behavior management at these two linky parties!

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  1. I love the seasons idea! That's great!!!

  2. I love this idea!! I have a whole bunch of numbers 1-4 laminated to put on clothespins for table groups. They were on the give away table at the school I just left an were from my cooperating teacher's room, so I grabbed them up. But seasons is a great way to get away from the numbers. Thanks! :)

  3. I loved your post. I felt like you were talking about my classroom. I do the same things, except I gave my table spots numbers instead of seasons. I love the idea of a spinner so it's more random. I might have to add that to my repertoire.
    Sarah from Mrs. Jones Teaches :o)

  4. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing! And I did follow you on Bloglovin' and TPT!

    Camp Kindergarten

  5. I went to Kagan training and it was SOOOOOOO fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I learned so much!!!!! I am your new follower on Bloglovin'!!! :)
    Mixing it up in Middle


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