It can be a challenge to form groups quickly for various activities. If students are asked to do it on their own they have a tendency to select their friends, of course. Also, there are children who are never picked, for various reasons.
If the teacher selects the groups, the students will blame the teacher if they are in a group they are not happy with. Using the strategies listed below will help to eliminate the blame problem because it is luck of the draw, it has nothing to do with the teacher.
Strategies for forming random groups quickly:
*Numbered Heads--students count off 1-5. All the ones together, all the twos and so on. Or 1,2,3,4,5 makes a group and so on.
*Using a deck of cards have all the aces form a group, kings, queens, jacks or use the numbered cards.
*Use different colored pieces of paper. All the red pieces form a group, greens another, blues, yellows, etc...
*Plastic animals. There are so many different types you can purchase. Lions form a group, elephants another group, etc...
*Different colored counting bears, unifix cubes, pattern blocks, M&M's (a favorite), all these and many others lend themselves to forming groups.
For pairing students up quickly, these strategies work as well. Using "Old Maid" cards works also. Try to find an "Old Bachelor" deck of cards.
All of these work for K-12. High School students get a kick out of getting plastic animals, counting bears, etc..., as much as the younger students do.
I hope you will experiment with these strategies. Let me know how they work for you and your students.
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