10 Ways to Arrange Students for Group Work

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Written by Alison Smith

Are you tired of using the same way of arranging students for group work? This blog is bursting with ideas about how to arrange students for group work in a quick and fun way. These ideas can be used at any time, or as a warm up activity that is related to the lesson subject.

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Puzzles for Group Work

Have you tried using puzzles to arrange your students for group activities? This idea works by giving each student a piece of a puzzle and asking them to seek out classmates with puzzle pieces that join together with theirs. When a group of students have come together to construct a complete puzzle, a group is formed.

It can be tricky to find suitable puzzles with the right number of pieces to match your group size requirements. This is where we can help with our cool Number Matching Puzzles that are perfect for creating groups of five.

You can choose from addition, subtraction, division or multiplication puzzles to match your learning focus. There is a set of 12 puzzles for each mathematical operation and each puzzle has five pieces!

Think smart and let a maths warm up activity do the organising for you!

Here’s how:

  • Download and print the required number of puzzles (if you need five groups, print five puzzles).
  • Laminate the puzzles and cut up the pieces.
  • Place one puzzle piece on each desk, making sure that they are mixed up and randomly distributed.
  • Explain to your students that they need to interpret their own puzzle piece and seek out classmates with puzzle pieces that join together with theirs.
  • Nominate the students with the number piece as the group leaders.

Ways to arrange your students for group activities

Animal Sounds for Group Work

For a fun and noisy idea, try arranging your class for group activities by using animal noises!

I love the idea of using farm animal figures and giving each student one of six animal types as they enter the classroom. If you don’t have any farm animal figures, download our brand new Farm Yard Sounds Match-Up Activity and give your sound machines a farm animal card instead.

This group organiser is quick and easy to set up…

  • Download our brand new Farm Yard Sounds Match-Up Activity to introduce animal sounds, language play and onomatopoeia.
  • Print enough farm animal cards to give each student a card as they enter the classroom.
  • Explain to the students that they need to form groups by finding other people with the same animal card by making farm animal noises.
  • Cover your ears!
Ways to arrange your students for group activities

Arranging groups by animal sound!

Paint Swatches for Group Work

Colour groups are an old favourite, but have you thought about using paint swatches to arrange your students for group activities?

Here’s how to do it…

  • Visit your local DIY store and pick up a handful of paint swatches. Select swatches with enough shades of each colour to cater for the number of students in each group.
  • Select a different colour for each group. Cut up the swatches and mix them up.
  • Give each student a shade. Ask them to find their colour family and to form a group. For example, all the shades of blue come together to form a group.

Ways to arrange your students for group activities

Buttons for Group Work

Bright and beautiful buttons are a great way to arrange students for group work. It’s as simple as distributing 5 or 6 different coloured buttons on each student’s desk.

If you want to delay grouping your students until part way through your lesson and avoid distraction, stick a button under each desk and reveal them when you are ready.

Ways to arrange your students for group activities

Random Name Selector

For the ultimate time saver, use our Random Name Selector to arrange your students for group work.

  • Add the names of the students in your class, remembering to add commas between each name.
  • Choose a theme.
  • Select a time-lapse option.
  • Press Go!

 Families for Group Work

Create a sense of community in your classroom and arrange your students for group work by asking them to find their family!

Ways to arrange your class for group activities

Use our Green Tartan Name Tags to create this display to show class groups.

We used name tags from our Green Tartan Classroom Theme Pack and constructed a student group classroom display by using an old cardboard box and coloured paper.

This idea is super easy to set up. Just choose a family name for each group and create a name tag for each member of each family.

For example:

  • Mr Lee
  • Mrs Lee
  • Grandpa Lee
  • Grandma Lee
  • Jane Lee (daughter)
  • Richard Lee (son).

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose from our collection of classroom theme packs and download the editable name tags.
  2. Create a name tag for each member of each family. Print, cut and laminate the name tags.
  3. Mix up the name tags and place one on each students’ desk.
  4. Ask the students to use their speaking and listening skills to find all other members of their family.
  5. When all families are united, ask the students to secure their name tags to a section of the tree display (we used hook and loop dots).

Different groups can be created as often as you like, by taking the name tags down, mixing them up and doing it all again!

Australian Sign Language for Group Work

Give your class the opportunity to learn the Australian Sign Language for Australian animals while they arrange themselves into groups.

Use our Auslan Australian Animals Dice Activity to teach the signs. Assemble the dice and use it as a fun way to choose groups for activity stations.

Ways to arrange your students for group activities

  1. Use our Auslan Australian Animals Dice Activity to teach your class how to sign kangaroo, spider, shark, platypus, kookaburra and emu.
  2. Decided on your groups and give each group a name -kangaroo, spider, shark, platypus, kookaburra or emu.
  3. Assign each student with an Australian animal.
  4. Ask your students to move around the classroom and sign their animal type to others in order to find other emus, sharks etc.
  5. Assemble an Australian animal dice and roll to choose groups for activity stations.

For more Australian Sign Language resources, check out our AUSLAN collection.

Please note that our Auslan resources aim to give a broad understanding of the handshapes and movements required to sign key signs. We encourage you to cross-reference using resources within your local community and refer to Auslan Signbank for regional variations.

Shapes for Group Work

How do you arrange your students for group work during measurement and geometry lessons?

Why not use the 3D shapes constructed during a hands-on measurement activity to arrange your students into groups.

  1. Download our Nets of 3D Objects and ask your students cut them out and construct them. Be strategic and ask your class to construct 5 lots of 6 different 3D shapes.
  2. Arrange your students for group activities by 3D shape. Students can either keep the shape that they made, or you can collect them, mix them up and redistribute them.

Ways to arrange your students for group activities

Bear Squares for Group Work

Use our cute Bear Squares to arrange your students for group work.

It’s as simple as giving each student one of the six Bear Squares and asking them asking your class to arrange themselves for group activities by finding classmates with the same Bear Square.

Ways to arrange your students for group work

Onomatopoeia for Group Work

Are you looking for a fun to arrange your student for group activities during a poetry lesson?

Use our customisable Onomatopoeia Word Wall and give your students to make some noise and to play with language.

It’s super fun and simple :

  1. Download our Onomatopoeia Word Wall and choose one sound for each group. Print each sound multiple times.
  2. Give one onomatopoeia word cards to each student. Ask them to take a look at their card without showing others and place it face down on their desk.
  3. Ask the students to interact with the whole class, making the onomatopoeia sound, joining up with others that have the same sound to form a group.

I hope that one or more of these ideas help to create some group buzz in your classroom!

Let me know how you go and share some photo evidence on Instagram #teachstarter

Make your classroom buzz! Create a free Teach Starter account and download hundreds of time-saving resources. Find out more


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