Last week I learned a brilliant way of getting children into groups.
I’ve only been teaching for about 20 years – how come I never worked this out before? Well, maybe I have used this method, or something similar, in the past, but sometimes the past can be a long time ago and have fallen out of my memory.
Anyway, here you are;
Suppose you want four groups;
Choose four children, “label” them 1, 2, 3, 4. Get them to stand in a row facing the same way, holding up 1, 2, 3 or four fingers. Now, explain to the rest of the children, that as you give them a number, they are to line up BEHIND their leader.
This is the important bit coming up now; ask the child that you are about to start with, and say “so, if you are a ‘1’, where will you go and stand?”. Hopefully, they will tell you that they will go behind the number 1 leader. “That’s right, show me,” you say, and they toddle off and stand in the correct place. At least, that’s what happened every time, with all five classes last Friday.
So now you can address the rest of the class “Do you all see what you have to do?”. “Yes”, they chorus. You can now zip along through the children counting them off; 2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4…. (I forgot that number 1 had already gone, and so ended up with an extra in that group, but it didn’t matter). Have a quick look in case a Boris and a Michael have ended up in the same group and you want to split them. Now you can send each group to do whatever it is you want them to do (in my case, sit by their instruments AND NOT TOUCH THEM).
Like this “Now, the children in group 1 are going to go and sit by the Big Drums, and (pause for effect) NOT PLAY THEM! We are going to watch them and see if they manage to NOT PLAY THE DRUMS”. Everyone’s eyes follow the children, who cautiously make their way over to the drums and sit down. What’s more, they didn’t touch the drums.
I have to say it made for a very calm and easy start to the lesson.