Making Groups Work in High School Math Class

I love having my class work in groups.  But, sometimes the group work turns in to group chat time.  So I have come up with two things to help to make sure that learning is happening!

1) Making the groups...

I have tried various things over the years...letting the students choose their partners, I choose their partners, making their groups based on their seating arrangements...etc, etc.  These each work sometimes depending on what I am trying to do, but my favorite new way to make groups is by using the website Flippity

There are lots of things you can do with flippity such as making flashcards, making a jeopardy game board, and making a word search.  But, my favorite thing to do with Flippity is to make groups.  All you have to do is type the names of your students into a Google Spreadsheet and Flippity does the rest.  You can specify how many students you want in a group and then through the magic of google, groups are made!  It's FREE!

I use Flippity and then project the groups on the front board as students are coming into class.  It eliminates arguments and gets everybody into a group.  Even the loners who would rather be by themselves.  There's no embarrassment to being left out.  If you notice that the two kids in the class who just can't get along were randomly selected to be in the same group, you can change that easily even after the groups have been chosen.

2) Make Students Accountable for the Group Work...

My students used to work better in groups.  I gave them an assignment and they did it.  It didn't matter if I was collecting it.  They did it because I said to.  These days, I feel that I have to make them more accountable.  There are many ways to do this.

  • You can give each student in the group a job - recorder, explainer, note taker, etc, etc.
  • You can choose one student's paper from the group to turn in at the end of the assignment.
  • You can have students enter their answers into a google form.

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