Differentiation can be very time consuming so I wanted something that could be created once and then used across every lesson. It initially took some time but I’m hoping it will pay off in the long run! I definitely took this idea from elsewhere and adapted it but can’t remember where it was – if anyone can find the original then please let me know!
So this is what I did:
Firstly I arranged the seating plan so that students with different target levels were placed where I needed them. This minimises too much movement as they should be able to simply turn around to work in their groups or with new partners. My classroom has four rows going back on each side so eight rows in total. Below are the front two rows – imagine that yellow pupils have a target of a level 6 and blue have a target of a level 7.
I wanted to ensure all students get to mix and work with people of the same level, different level, in mixed groups of four and in mixed bigger groups. I created the cards and explained it to students like this.
Pupil 1, 2, 5 and 6 all have the same colour card so to work together Pupil 1 and 2 simply have to turn around.
Pupil 1 and 2 both have the same letter so stay where they are.
Pupil 1 and 5 both have the same shape so one of them needs to turn around.
Students don’t know it is linked to levels at all and so no one feels self-conscious or worried. They were very excited to be in their superhero groups (although maybe I shouldn’t have chosen Green Lantern, apparently he isn’t very impressive!) I will be using the superhero groups for competition elements of lessons and bigger quiz activities and there may even be a competition league created for each group towards the end of the unit.
Obviously this is much easier to do if you have a class of even numbers and rows. I don’t have an even number so I’ve created a group of three on one row and they seem to work fine.
If you’d like a copy of the cards then feel free to tweet me @engteachwbs and I can share.