Reflection: Student Grouping Setting/Conflict in Tangerine, Part II: Collaborating to Refine our Focus - Section 2: Opening Question


Setting up groups seems like something that experienced teachers should be able to do in an instant.  In reality, to set up groups effectively -- that is, when you have a very specific purpose in mind and not when you are just breaking the class into smaller units for practical reasons -- is hard work.  

First, you have to think about your objective.  In this case, it was for students to make connections that they couldn't make on their own.  So, I decided to spread out my brainpower. (There are lots of good reasons to keep your high flyers together.  We can talk about those in another lesson.  My objective was to get them to understand something.  So, I took the kids who "got it" and spread them out.  I did this by making my high flyers the "leaders" -- this was so I could make sure they were distributed.  It worked well on that end, but I did end up with too many introverts running groups.  It's hard for 13-year olds to keep order and stay on track while whispering.

Next, you have to check your groups for personalities and gender balance.  Gender balance may not be a big issue in other grades, but in middle school, you want the girls and boys to be mixed if you want everyone to take about the same amount of time and to develop comparable products.

Finally, you want to do a social cross check.  Put the kid who really needs a friend with someone he or she likes.  Split up your rowdies and any boyfriend/girlfriend combos.

Triple check for your special needs students.  You know what those needs might be and how to accommodate them.

Easy, right? :)

  Setting up Groups
  Student Grouping: Setting up Groups
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Setting/Conflict in Tangerine, Part II: Collaborating to Refine our Focus

Unit 10: Tangerine, by Edward Bloor
Lesson 2 of 6

Objective: SWBAT refine their original ideas about the relationship between setting and conflict in Tangerine.

Big Idea: Through collaboration and a renewed focus on text based analysis, students will gain understanding about the interaction of story elements.

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English / Language Arts, Reading, symbolism (Literary Terms), novel, story elements, character development
  55 minutes
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