Environmental Management and grouping
- Limit the number of students in each group primary grades 2-3 upper 4-6 optimum.
- Assign a specific task to be accomplished.
- Plan for all to be active or assign tasks.
- Plan for sharing or need for group interdependency.
- Select a group leader to lead discussions, write answers, or allow a natural leader to assume role.
- Limit the amount of time, 6-8 minutes for brainstorming activities, 10-15 for most primary activities and 15-20 upper elementary, unless the assigned task is intrinsically motivating for the students.
- Model voice levels that are acceptable and not acceptable. When you are talking to one group lower your body to their level and talk quietly so that other groups aren't interrupted.
- When necessary, select the groups.
- Walk around to collect assessment data that can be used for processing the group work later. Collect both information for social skills and content information.
- If there are many small groups consider joining the small groups to share and consolodate their information before all groups come together for a discussion.
- When groups share allow each group to voice its conclusions and listen attentively to others.
- Require some type of individual accountability. A written answer or report from each student or randomly select students to report.
- If necessary devise and explain consequences for disruption and non-participation. For some students, particularly social students, moving them away from the group until they aagree to try to cooperate for the rest of the day.
Ways of forming groups
- Randomly assign students.
- Change groups every time a new activity is started or after one complete rotation of tasks in a group.
- Teacher chooses who will be in each group.
- A mixture of good and poor students or group by skills. Groupings of this nature should be temporary and for only a particular skill.
- Students are given numbers 1-5 to select five groups. Can extend to other things. Use to go to the restroom, get drinks, recess... Ones do everything first, then 2s and ...
- Group according to interest and friendship for certain occasions, with very careful teacher supervision.
- Include instruction of social skills as they need to be taught.
- Remember that groups need to be changed often and kept heterogeneous.
- Practice getting into groups and different arrangements.