There are as many ways to structure flexible grouping as there are teachers and classrooms.
- Duration: Can range from part of one day to an entire school year
- Subjects: For one or two subjects or all subjects (research suggests no more than two for most students)
- Classes: Within a single class, within classes at one grade level, or among classes at multiple grade levels
- Core Instruction or Supplemental:
- In place of subject-level instruction (ie. the group becomes the students’ primary instruction for that subject) or in addition to the “regular” class (ie. the group is supplemental instruction)
- The Needs of the Particular Group of Students
- Are there just a few students with scores well above or below the rest of the class, or are their scores more evenly spread out, allowing for groups of similar sizes?
- When do the bells ring?
- When are the biggest blocks of time during the school day?
- Are there blocks of instructional time that two or three teachers share, allowing the possibility for the teachers to group across multiple classes?
- When during the school year would be natural times to restructure groups? (ie. beginning of new units, start of the instructional terms/quarters, etc.)
- Support of Teachers, Administrators and Parents
- Are other teachers willing to do multi-class or multi-grade groups?
- Does the school administration support grouping? Are there particular rules or guidelines that must be followed?
- How and when will the grouping process and potential benefits be explained to parents and other stakeholders?
- Materials Available
- Are materials at a variety of academic levels available?
- Are you restricted to particular curriculum, or can you bring in supplemental materials as needed?
- Group within Groups
- Example: If students are grouped by ability for a lesson, within those groups, students can be further grouped by interest or learning style
- A Teacher’s Aide or other assistant may work with a small group of students within a group to even more specficially focus on a skill those kids need
Ideas from Other Teachers:
- Describes structure for flexible grouping in Math and Reading with three teachers
- Ideas for moving students to small groups and back to large group activities
- from The Free Library
- Descriptions of strategies to help small groups stay on task and work together
- from myread.com
Student Inventory Resources:
Communicating with Parents (One Teacher’s Examples):
- Letter to explain flexible grouping (“leveling”)
- Sample newsletter with info for a teacher’s math group
- Sample newsletter sent to math and reading students in the teacher’s groups but not in homeroom class
Flexible Grouping: Tips and Tricks