Teachers like to be in control. And because of that character trait, we like to talk a lot. We have so much to share. But, are we making sure that students are having multiple opportunities to talk about the content they are learning? There is a quote that I’ve heard many times in the world of education, “The person doing the most talking is doing the most learning.”
So, how do we step back and allow students to take control? One way is through flexible groupings. Pairs, triads, random and assigned. Based on readiness, mixed readiness, interest, or learning preference.
21st century skills highlight collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and problem solving. What better way to practice those skills than in groups?
In the 1990’s, Spencer Kagan came up with a vast array of structures for cooperative learning in small groups. These structures are just as powerful today as they were almost 20 years ago.
Some of my favorites are:
- inside-outside circles
- four corners
- talking chips
As far as grouping strategies, some of my favorites are clock buddies and grouping cards. Here’s a set of 36 cards that have a multitude of uses:
For more resources on the topic of flexible grouping and grouping strategies, go to: