Forming Teams

BEST District of the EVSC - January 31, 2017

Being Intentional - the Why?

Imagine you have 25 students, and you have to call on each student to determine what each student knows. It would take too long to solicit information from each student this way? Instead, by placing students into intentional groupings, the teacher is substantially increasing the number of students who are actively participating. According to Kagan, teams of four are ideal.
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Teams of Four

Teams of four increase the opportunity for varied discussion. Here are some of the different opportunities that this grouping arrangement offer:

  • Shoulder Partner
  • Face Partner
  • Diagonal Parter

Heterogeneous Groups

Forming Groups

Getting started the teacher will need to determine a class rank in terms of highest to lowest performance levels. Next, the teacher should select a High, High Medium, Low Medium, and Low student from the list to create each group of four. Referencing the graphic above here's how to place students:

  • Desk 1 - High Student
  • Desk 2 - High Medium Student
  • Desk 3 - Low Student
  • Desk 4 - Low Medium Student

This grouping minimizes the interaction between the highest and lowest students of the group. However, it does promote peer coaching from a High to a Low (Shoulder Partners), and collaboration closer to performance levels between a High to a High Medium and a Low Medium to a Low (Face Partners).

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Common Questions

Q1: I have an extra student?

A1: Make one team of five.

Q2: I have two extra students?

A2: Make two teams of 3.

Q3: I have several students absent?

A3: Move students around to make teams of 4 or 5.

Q4: How often should I change up my groups?

A4: Change up your groups every six weeks.

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