I have just finished my first week of class.
I have finally used Myra Snell's Random Grouping Cards, to put students in groups. I've been wanting to do this for the past year, and finally got over my inertia problem. Research shows that putting students in visibly random groups gets them participating more. (Visibly means they don't wonder if the teacher made it non-random.)
Myra's cards work for a class of 32 students or (a bit) fewer. If you class is bigger or much smaller, you'll need something different. I couldn't figure out an easy way to get mine onto her format. So mine are Random Grouping Slips. I have sets for 16, 23, 32, and 48 students. You cut off the first column, and then slice apart the rows.
I was intrigued that I could not (easily) get 24 student slips. The last one would have put two people together in the last group who had been together before. The way I set it up was based on 16. There was no simple way to make it smaller.
I ended up with classes with 20, 40, and 28 students, so I've made those too now. They're organized a bit differently. I don't like the time it takes to cut them on the paper cutter. Hmm...
Some of the students complain, but I think I am already seeing more of a community forming among the whole class. I'll be watching for ways in which this changes classroom dynamics.
I have also finally begun to implement the Gallery Walk I learned about at the CAP (California Acceleration Project) conference from Myra. I hope to write about that soon.
All three of my classes seem to be going well.