Fun and Effective Ways to Pair or Group Students

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1. If your students are sitting around a large table or around a “U shape” made of several tables, simply ask for the one student who is sitting closest to you on your left to move and sit next to the student who is sitting closest to you on your right. Then pair the student who moved with the student he or she moved next to, and then pair other students as you go around the table.

2. Put pairs of Cuisenaire rods (colored rods/blocks often used in math class) in a bowl, matching how many students are in the class. (If you have 10 students, put 5 pairs of two rods of the same color in the bowl.) Keeping the bowl under the table, pass it to a student and ask him or her to take a rod out of the bowl and pass the container to the student next to him or her. Have students pass the bowl around, under the table, until everyone has a colored rod. Students find their partner by finding the person whose rod color matches theirs. (If you have an odd number of students, just add one rod to make a trio with one of the colors.)

3. You can use the same technique to create 2 groups of 5 students. After each student has their rod, tell them to make 2 teams of 5, with every member of the team having a different color rod.

4. Ask each student to choose a partner. Then ask each pair to declare one student as “student A” and the other as “student B.” Then tell all “A students” to form one group of 5 and all “B students” to form another group of 5.

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