Flexible Student Grouping

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This slideshow is intended for teachers or instructional staff looking to optimize instruction through the use of appropriate student groupings.

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Flexible Student Grouping

  1. 1. A Pathway to Differentiation: Flexible Student Grouping Sean M. Hildebrandt Secondary High Potential Specialist Phone: (952) 496-5768 Email: shildebr@shakopee.k12.mn.us
  2. 2. Differentiation is a teacher’s response to learner needs shaped by mindset and guided by general principles. Teachers can differentiate through content, process, or product according to students’ readiness, interest, or learning profile. - Carol Ann Tomlinson (1999)
  3. 3. Sound Differentiated Instruction is predicated on flexible student grouping. Knowing your students well and arranging them into strategically-designed, fluid groups optimizes learning and is generally considered best practice.
  4. 4. Groups of students are arranged based on readiness, learning profiles, or interests. These groups change from activity to activity. Flexible Grouping employs combinations ofwhole group, small group & independent work.
  5. 5. “Homogeneous” Groups: Students are arranged based on a measured criterion Heterogeneous Groups: Students are a “mixed bunch”
  6. 6. These groups are formed based on a shared criterion – most often ability or classroom performance These criterion-based groupings allow teachers to tier or level instruction. Allows for clustering of Gifted and Talented students
  7. 7. Students benefit from these mixed ability groupings when the following are ALL true: Material is new for everyone Learning is genuine – no “peer tutoring” Activity relies on multiple perspectives These groups could be student-selected or random
  8. 8. Teacher selected groups: Students are strategically arranged based on student criteria and the instruction Randomly selected Groups Used when mixed-ability, learning styles, and interests are desired but not required Student selected Groups: Used when mixed-ability, heterogeneous groups don’t truly require multiple perspectives
  9. 9. The schematic to the left provides quick guidance when forming groups? Sean M. Hildebrandt, M.S. Secondary HP Specialist
  10. 10. As you examine the learning targets of the activity, be mindful of: Number of pupils in class Number of groups Students per group Roles within the group Teacher role Physical limitations (Facilities) Overall safety
  11. 11. Form groups of 4-5 students if the activity is collaborative in nature: Create tasks students can do independently Provide checklist of procedures & Rubrics Establish behavior guidelines and expectations for lesson beforehand Be flexible with time spent per group (≠) Consider a whole-group activity to bring everyone together at end or beginning Thomas L. Good & Jere E. Brophy, Looking in Classrooms (Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2000)

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