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Group settings in the classroom . Is it beneficial?

taborah darby

In the classroom it sometimes is hard to keep focus. Having group settings within the classroom can be beneficial in somecases. With a group setting not only do the student have the oppurtunity to help and discuss with each other, the group inspire each other and their grades will show proof of their work as a group and and a whole . Any comments regarding group settings in the classroom?

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Our entire school has been

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Our entire school has been Kagan trained, so cooperative learning is an integral part of all we do. The grouping challenge is different with every class, but this one can usually be overcome this way:
1) Group your kids lo, lower-mid, higher-mid, hi
2) Hopefully you can put a hi or hi-mid in each group.
3) If you are still a bit short, look for low-mid kids who are hard workers, over-achievers, good leaders.
PUT THE GROUP(S) WITH THE MOST NEEDY KIDS CLOSEST TO YOU.
And don't give up, even if the first arrangement doesn't work!

Teacher, Computer Programmer / Engineer, and Educational Technologist

I have to say I disagree

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Not every child is an extrovert, and not every task is well-suited to "group work" as it has been defined. In fact, very few are. In the "real world", even though we collaborate and work in teams on a regular basis, we rarely do so like the model of group tables in classrooms. That is really only done when we have conferences, meetings, etc. The bulk of our work we do independently, but with support networks and channels of communication open to get information from, or provide information (or goods) to, others in our team as necessary -- not forced, not in the same physical space.

What I have encountered both in my youth (I always dreaded and hated group work at school) and as a teacher has been that invariably there would be members of the group that did nothing and could coast by so long as the rest of the group picked up the slack -- and then there would be the ones picking up the slack. (Usually me, because I didn't want to be penalized just because of someone else's laziness or incompetence.) This is unfair both to the go-getters that carry the team, and to the slackers who are the most harmed by the situation.

I HAVE seen great results from partners/pairs, which allows collaboration without having so many people that someone "falls through the cracks" or gets left out; I arrange all of my students in partner/pair teams for think-pair-share and collaborative work tasks.

IF a project or task calls for multiple roles (such as a filmmaking project I did with my students), I survey them for both interests and desires of roles, and try to assign very specific tasks accordingly; on the other hand, sometimes I simply make them rotate roles so they are exposed to all of the different types of tasks (after all, perhaps they don't know what they are good at or like doing until they try it.)

I also like using groups occasionally for discussions/brain-storming -- but protocols must be in place to allow (and ensure) a voice for everyone, and it tends to work best in non-product, no-grade, low-stress situations.

But overall I have seen the trend for "collaborative learning" and "group tables" to be just that -- a trend, with very little actual statistical evidence of academic benefits, while costing many headaches in management of both time/transitions and behaviors.

Certainly no one is an island and we must learn to collaborate and communicate, but I think that works just as well in pairs (if you want to spread the variety of interactions, simply reassign to new pairings)

3rd grade teacher from St. Clairsville, Ohio

Mary H. you hit the nail on

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Mary H. you hit the nail on the head! I too love using group seating for my students and find it to be very beneficial for the students socially and academically. I do know teachers that refuse to put their students in group seating because of the "noise level". At the beginning of the year just for about the first 4 weeks I do seat them in rows until I get to personally know each of my students and their abilities/behavior. Once I get to know them, the room is transformed into a cooperative classroom setting. You were right on target when you said it is important to explain and model to the students your expectations with the group seating. I let my students know the high expectations that I have from the get-go with their seating and learning center groups and just like everything else, it is a process and takes time to fully develop. It is "chaotic" in the beginning but over time it transitions and gets easier. My third graders by October are on top of it without much redirection. Love the idea of letting them name their tables monthly to go along with the holiday theme. I will be borrowing that idea!

3rd grade teacher from St. Clairsville, Ohio

Matthew, I am the middle

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Matthew,

I am the middle person on this concept and do more of your style of teaching. I do seat my students in pairs and that allows time for them to quickly think-pair-share or complete an activity together, but at the same time it allows them to work individually as well. I group my students throughout the day in their Reading Learning Centers which consists of 4 in a group, which is a 20 minute activity. I agree that we need to teach and model to our students ultimately to be "independent thinkers", but at the same time we need to teach/model for our students to be able to socially interact w/ others as well. Each day in my class I mix it up throughout the day with individual, partner, and group collaboration. I do encounter a few students each year in my room that have social skill issues/anxiety medical issues and group settings push them over the edge. I feel a well-balanced mixture of learning is fair to all students and their learning.

3rd grade teacher from St. Clairsville, Ohio

In the same boat!

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BKeller,
I teach in a low-poverty school and many of the students that I serve are of lower academic status and on IEPS. When I first started teaching I thought the answer was to place them in group settings by mixing them up with higher-low students in each group. After much reflection, I did change it up the last few years and grouped them according to their ability levels. Yes, it does make it nicer to have the lower students with high, but what are the lower students really getting out of the lesson when it is the higher student carrying them and doing the work for them pretty much. It is more difficult having them placed upon ability levels because I now have in group learning center time usually two-three groups that are extremely low-low. I try to do my center time when I have my Spec. Ed. teacher or Title I staff in the room with me to co-teach, which helps tremendously. Also, another important concept to keep in mind is modifying the lesson dependent opon the group. I know it is time-consuming to modify one center 2-3 ways, but the end result is well worth it.

3rd grade teacher from St. Clairsville, Ohio

I agree :)

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Ashleigh,
I love giving my students time to socially interact with one another on academic projects as well. I model and explain to my students my high-expectations from the beginning of school of partner/group work time. I will admit that when I first began giving them more collaboration time, the noise level at times was difficult for me to overcome. As time went on though, I realized that the "noise" was the students expressing, sharing, and collaborating ideas of the assignment and that they were on-task. Now I am excited to hear the communication between my students as they are coming up with brilliant ideas together. I do feel though it is pertinent to give equal amounts of time throughout each day for students to have individual, partner, and group work time. Some of my students struggle socially interacting, and they do their best work when working individually. As in life, you are going to be expected to think and act on your own, but it is essential to be able to communicate as well and understand that others have various opinions and how to respect their views.

Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

Hi, Thanks for your

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Hi,
Thanks for your question.
I believe group setting arrangement in classroom is a good method which all schools must follow. Group setting allows students to interact with each other. A sense of cooperation and unity comes amongst each other. However, you should change group members in every week, so that all students get a chance to interact with each other.

Reading Specialist from Hellertown, PA

Quote: In the classroom it

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Quote:

In the classroom it sometimes is hard to keep focus. Having group settings within the classroom can be beneficial in somecases. With a group setting not only do the student have the oppurtunity to help and discuss with each other, the group inspire each other and their grades will show proof of their work as a group and and a whole . Any comments regarding group settings in the classroom?

As a Reading teacher, I can verify that group instruction works well for Language Arts. Students can really gain ideas and strategies by sharing with one another. Group writing can be a lot of fun in the elementary classroom. There is a website called Cubert’s Cube which I personally like. Cubert’s Cube is a wonderfully fun site for creative writing. It includes game-like story starters and a gallery where the students can create or upload illustrations for their stories. Since it is Wiki-based, several students can collaborate on a story at the same time. It is a super motivator to get students to write. The teacher is in full control of the security settings and can keep the work as private as need be or publish it on the site.

Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

As per my suggestion, Group

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As per my suggestion, Group setting among the students is really very helpful sometimes..Students forming a group can build up an interactive sessions among themselves, This will enhance their communication skill ultimately resulting the enhancement of their confidence level as well.

Active PTA Parent- Not a pain in ***** parent

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I respect all the ways that each teacher decides to teach in their class room.
What I would like to know is how do I deal with my daughter's complaints who really hates when they are grouped like this. She is really bothered by one or another kid that doesnt keep to his own personal space or is not prepared and staying on task. She is third grade now and this year they have own desk, but still pushed together touching. I tried to teach her how to work with all kinds of kids, but lets be honest here folks some of these kids are really a pain and normal adults have trouble dealing with them. They snot on you and have no maners and thats only the beginning. As a side note I teach Girl Scouting with 15 girls. Have some problems of this type there as well, not just complaints from my kid, but from others. Any Advise?

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