So you want to put your students into groups for a quick activity, and everyone seems to have a different idea of how to do it. Well, good news for you! There are many different ways to group students, depending on the activity. Grouping can be as simple as 1-2-3-4 or blue-red-green-yellow. Here are a few ideas. Try one, try them all, and use them as much or as little as you like.
Using Cards to Group Students
This is a great one to use on the first day back to school. As students enter the room, each one is given a playing card. Once the students are in the room, there are several ways to group them.
- Students with hearts stand in one corner, clubs in another corner, diamonds in another, and spades in the fourth corner.
- Students gather in groups of four, with each person having a different suit in his hand.
- Students with red cards move to one side of the room, and students with black cards stand on the other side of the room.
- Students find a partner with a card that comes just before or just after their card. For example, a person with a 9 will look for a partner holding an 8 or a 10.
Using Colors to Form Groups
Students are given a colored dot on their hands or on their desks. Packs of colored dots in red, green, yellow, and blue may be purchased at office supply stores.
- Four students may group together if each person has a different color dot.
- All the students of the same color may form a group.
- Students with two colors form one team, students with the other two colors form another team. For a game it could be reds and yellows against the blues and greens.
Group Students by Numbers
I always assign student numbers and I use them to set up groups.
- Odd numbered students make one group and even numbered students make another.
- Three groups can be formed by having all students with a number that is a multiple of 3 move to one area of the room. (See the hidden math lesson here?) The remaining students divide into two groups of odd numbers and even numbers.
- Any number of groups may be created by counting off. Five groups may be organized by having students line up. Move down the line, having the students call out 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5, then starting over. All the ones form a group, twos form another group, and so on.
Group by Position
In this activity, students position themselves and then form groups.
- Students find a partner. Once everyone has a partner, one person sits down. All seated people form one team, all standing people form another. This is a great way to divide into teams outside for sports.
- Students form a triad. Once all students are in groups of three, one person sits down, one person places her hands on her head, and the other person remains standing. Students are placed in groups according to what position they held. Again, this is great for P.E.
- Students form two lines and face each other. The persons across from each other become partners.
I’ve also used stickers with themes, colored popsicle sticks, favorite fruits, and so on. You can be as creative as you want in getting students into groups for activities.