New Way to Group!

I'm back from my happy place. It was very, very happy as usual. Good news is that I'll be going back over Memorial Day weekend, so I'm not even that sad about having to come home! Unbelievably, I can go in next week and start getting my room ready already. How did that happen?? I still have a few more weeks before we officially go back, but man this summer surely zoomed by!

So, on to a cool idea I'm really hoping will work well when I'm back into the teaching groove. This was an activity from my Common Core training last month. I don't think the actual activity was meant for us to do with the kids, it was more of a way to get us up and moving around the room as participants of the training, but I really liked the activity and think it could work with the kids.

It's sort of like a jigsaw cooperative learning method. First, our table group was presented with a piece of chart paper and four separate problem solving activities on small sheets of paper. For the purposes of this training, they were from various grade levels. We had to fold the chart paper into fourths and then glue each one of the four smaller sheets onto it.

Then, we individually worked on the problem that we ended up sitting in front of. I got a fourth grade fraction problem! (bad seat choice that day...)

The next part scared the bejezzus out of me when I pictured it happening in my actual classroom. We RIPPED the paper apart! I'm sorry, but scissors will be used when I do this in my room. Can you imagine them trying to rip this into four equal parts? Raise your hand if you can see it looking more like confetti when they were done ripping. Yeah, me too.

Then the fun part. We had to walk around the room with our piece of the paper and find the other members who also had the same problem. Then we compared our answers and looked at the different problem solving methods we used. You can see in my page above, I had the wrong answer! *hanging my head in shame*  BUT the cool thing about me having the wrong answer, was that another member with the wrong answer tried to explain why her answer was correct -but in the middle of her explanation, she realized her mistake. Then someone who had the right answer explained to us both how she came about it and it was a cool pictorial representation that made it so easy! That's right about when I fell in love with this strategy.

I don't know if I'd try this in the first couple of weeks of school, but after you have your routines and structures in place, I think this strategy could really become a staple. This might also be another great way to use task cards. My brain is spinning with different activities that I might be able to use with this strategy. I'll keep you posted :)

And in other news, my ELA Common Core Assessment Pack is done! Feel free to check it out here if you're interested.

I'll be in and out of my classroom next week, so get ready for some set up pictures! Those are always my favorite...
See you soon, my friends!


  1. That is so much better than the jigsaw method. How fun!!!!

  2. What a great idea! I like activities that change-up things a bit! I am going to try this with some of my teachers during PD! Thanks!
    Literacy Minute

  3. I love that idea. As one of the teachers who leads professional development, I can see great things with that idea in faculty meetings! Love the assessment pack too! Thanks!

  4. As I was reading this, I thought the new way of grouping might be "all with 6 for an answer sit here" kind of thing. I like this way better. but now I'm thinking about other possible options!

    Sally from Elementary Matters

  5. What a great way to group kids. I love to have kids discussing how they came up with answers so I am definitely doing this!


    I Heart Teaching Elementary

  6. I am totally pinning this idea for future reference... love it! Also pinning the common core ELA pack... haven't even been able to look through the whole thing yet, but holy moly girl, you outdid yourself this time! I don't think I've ever been so excited to go back to school.... all your fun stuff has got my itchin' to get back to work :)

  7. Love your blog! Found you on Pinterest. I'm working on my blog but am just a beginner so bear with me:

  8. One of the best things I ever purchased was a perforating wheel for my rotary ruler. You need to have the mat (expensive) and ruler (expensive), but if you have these things the blade is pretty cheap to turn it into an amazing tool. I would just perforate the big page and then the kids should be able to tear reasonably well. I use it for making words letter distribution. I make a file with the letters in columns for the word, then I perforate cut across, and regular cut vertically. It makes quick strips that I can pass out and they pop apart. I do this so often that I have two rotary cutters in my class, one for each blade, and I am ready to go. PS I love your blog!!!

  9. I also use it with parent signature papers, They keep the top portion and tear off the bottom. It makes them uniform for me in the stack. Aren't we anal about some things? Must be why we went into the profession.

  10. Hey Denise! I feel like I haven't talked to you in forever. I'm so happy you are enjoying your summer. I love what you have shared--I'm saving this right now for my class! Thank you so much and I'm looking forward to seeing your class!!!

  11. What a great idea - I'm so going to use this in math with word problems! Thanks!


Back to Top