Ten Helpful Grouping Techniques for the Classroom

There are ten easy ways to group students in the classroom to facilitate conversations and encourage diverse perspectives, Dr. Tolulope (Tolu) Noah, associate professor in the Liberal Studies/Undergraduate Education program at Azusa Pacific University, writes in a recent blog post on The Scholarly Teacher. In the post, Noah gives techniques for putting students into informal groups for discussions or processing activities. The techniques include using colorful index cards so students can form groups with others with the same color index card; clock partners, or giving students a handout and allowing them to walk around and make “appointments” for conversations with available peers; color-coding papers to organize students into different discussion sections; preparing and distributing numbered index cards and having students select them to pair off into small peer review sessions; and creating picture cards that relate to the discussion topic and having students pair up based on those images.

“Designing a strategy to group students reduces much of the stress in class students face when asked to ‘pair up’ or ‘form a group.’ This helps them to meet peers, hear diverse perspectives, and not worry about exclusion,” Noah writes in the blog post.