Wondering how to maximize learning and behavior management? The way in which you group students can make a big difference! There are many ways to arrange your seating chart depending on your goals. Let’s find out more!
Grouping Students According To Who They Know!
At the beginning of a new school year I let my students choose their seats. Usually, behavior at the very beginning is pretty good, and as I learn their names, they take some comfort in being close by to a friend. But as the weeks go on, I can quickly learn some important information like:
-Who are the shy kids who will need someone they feel comfortable with in order to flourish in partner/group work?
-Who are the students whose friendship will prevent them from good focus and concentration?
Once I know those things, I change seats. I make it so that everyone has a new seat, but the students don’t yet know the “why” behind my apparent random seating choices!
Grouping Students By Skill Level
As the year continues, we begin to see where students are in their skill level in reading, writing, speaking and listening. As with any group of people, there is bound to be a good deal of variety here.
In some cases, I might group students with similar skill levels. In this scenario, students who need extension activities will have a speaking partner or project partner who is also ready for the next level! And students who may need some review also have a partner at their level. This ensures that when working with others, all students can work at the level that is appropriate for them when we are differentiating and working with others.
In other times, let’s say when you plan to do a group activity, it might be nice to group some of the stronger students with one or 2 students who may be a little behind. Peer feedback and instruction can be a powerful tool to help the struggling students clarify confusion and understand mistakes. It can motivate them to work a little harder to keep up with their peers!
Grouping Students By Activity
In a Spanish Classroom, there is a lot of interpersonal communication. Students need to practice speaking to another person and understanding what others say to them in the target language. Here is a list of activities that work well when you group students in pairs:
-Partner speaking activities that practice specific vocabulary
-Partner speaking activities that practice specific grammar
-Question and answer activities
-Task card scenarios where students each have a role to play
-Listening comprehension: One student can say a sentence or a short series of sentences. The partner can answer questions or summarize
-Games where students compete against one other person
Here is a short list of activities that might be good for groups of 3 or 4!
-Group Writing Challenges
-Group Games where their team competes against the other teams in the class
-Group Games where the group of 3 or 4 are competing against each other
I think that keeping things fresh and new for students is a great way to keep them engaged in their learning. Changing seats to achieve a particular goal is a way you can accomplish this in your Spanish Classroom!
Another way to keep things fresh and interesting is to vary the kinds of activities your students are doing. Take some time to brainstorm either alone or with some colleagues. Use my lists of partner vs group activity ideas and see what you can come up with to fit your curriculum! (Look for a future post about partner and group activities that discusses in detail how I design these kinds of activities!)
I remember very well what it feels like to be a new teacher, one who has a new course, or one who has a full personal life. I will leave some links below to my versions of some of the activities I mentioned before for those who might want something that’s already created and ready to go!
Verb Tense Review Project: Great for partners or small groups
Digital Escape Room: Great for groups!
Writing Prompts and Scaffolds: Growing Bundle