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 has 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 Puzzlesthat 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 math warm-up activity do the organizing 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 organizer 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

Color groups are an old favorite, 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 color to cater for the number of students in each group.
  • Select a different color for each group. Cut up the swatches and mix them up.
  • Give each student a shade. Ask them to find their color 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 colored buttons on each student’s desk. If you want to delay grouping your students until halfway 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 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 Plaid Name Tags to create this display to show class groups.

We used name tags from our Green Plaid Classroom Theme Pack and constructed a student group classroom display by using an old cardboard box and colored 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).
  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!

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 3-D Objects and ask your students to 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 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 customizableOnomatopoeia 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 #teachstarterus

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