Collaborative Groups Made Simple

Learn a super easy way to organize students into groups.

Collaborative learning enhances student learning. Working together is an effective teaching method. It may be used with a variety of assignments. Small group activities can also be incorporated into many unit lessons. Students learn a lot by interacting with one another. So, why are teachers hesitant in using this teaching strategy? It is time-consuming to plan and often messy to implement. However, the benefits of collaborative groups far outweigh the planning time that goes into getting activities ready, especially if you follow this simple, easy method for grouping students.

In this post, I’m going to share you can turn collaborative grouping from complex to simple. Learn how one hour of organization will make transitioning your class into group activities simple. 

Setting up Collaborative Groups

1) Purchase insertable name badges (lanyards) for each student in your class. You may use fold & clip name badges or hanging name badges with neck-straps.

2) Write or type the names of each student on the individual rectangular inserts provided with the name badges.

3) Before punching the rectangular inserts apart, take them to the copying machine and make copies in four to five colors based on the number of students in your class.

4) Using a paper cutter, slice the rectangles apart.

5) Make a stack (one of each color) of a student’s name and store all colors in one vinyl holder of the lanyard.

Collaborative Groups - Name Tags

6) Sort students into groups by color. Simply place the student’s name printed on “blue” paper at the top of the stack before placing the names on the lanyard. All students who have “blue” names will form the “blue” group. Repeat with each color until you have formed each group.

You may easily rearrange groups by shuffling different color name tags to the top of the stack.

How to Easily Group Students

Click this link to get your Collaborative
Groups Handout for Group Roles.

Additional Uses for Individual Lanyards

Play “Round About.” In this fun activity, students get out of their desks and move around the room. This is a welcomed change from the many pencil and paper activities they so frequently are required to do. Here are the instructions for the activity:

Collaborative Groups Instructions

  • Make cards with the definitions of vocabulary words. Write a number on each card. Students place these cards in their lanyards. Note: I often have students turn their lanyards around, so they are hanging down the students’ backs. This helps with personal space.

  • Give students a sheet with vocabulary words.

  • Set a timer. When the timer begins, students walk around the room reading the definitions. They must write the corresponding number of the definition next to each vocabulary word on their sheet. When the timer stops, students return to their seats.

  • The answers are checked to determine how many correct responses are identified.

  • This activity may be used for any skill that requires matching.


You may also like the post Collaborative Discussions. This post contains an anchor chart with foldable student organizer going over rules for working in small groups. 

Learn a quick easy way to place students into collaborative groups.
With just a few minutes of work at the beginning of the year, your students will move into collaborate groups quickly and easily.

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